VLV has made a submission in response to Ofcom’s Review of Rules for Prominence of Public Service Broadcasters (PSBs) and Local TV.
The prominence of PSB channels (BBC channels, ITV1, Channel 4, Channel 5 and others) has been enshrined in Government policy since 1955 when the first ITV channels were launched alongside the BBC.
In return for certain benefits, such as prominence, the UK’s public service broadcasters guarantee to provide high quality content which provides public benefit, such as news and UK produced content which is relevant to our lives in Britain.
Ofcom is conducting this review because the existing regulations which are meant to ensure prominence for the PSBs are out of date. They are proposing to make a few changes to the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) which is how the majority of people still watch live TV but they are also looking for recommendations on how prominence should be maintained beyond the traditional TV set with an EPG.
Existing rules don’t cover, for example, whether the EPG should be easily found on set top boxes, such as those provided by Sky where it doesn’t appear automatically. They also don’t apply to smart TVs or online platforms. As people increasingly watch content using Apps or players, the PSBs are being crowded out and are more difficult to find.
VLV has proposed that regulation of PSB prominence should apply across all platforms where a substantial proportion of viewing is conducted if the intention of Parliament to maintain PSB prominence is to be fulfilled. This will be beneficial for audiences because PSB content which they value will be easier to find and there will be a greater uniformity of approach across platforms and devices.