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Davie: UK media industry must work together during transition to internet-only world

"We have reached a defining decade for the future of this incredible sector and this wonderful country," Davie said in a speech to the Royal Television Society

The BBC’s director general Tim Davie has called on the UK’s media industry, politicians and regulators to join forces and work together to “secure the future of a thriving, trusted, world-leading UK media market”, as the media landscape transitions to an internet-only world.

Discussing his vision for what the media market could look like in 2030, Davie said, “I want to set out some of the choices that we need to make, and make the case for ambition.

“This will require the BBC, regulators, politicians – all of us – to work together and make clear decisions. To invest capital and set policy, deliberately, not simply live on hope and good intent. To create a bigger creative sector supported by strong public service media and a thriving BBC.

“In short, we have reached a defining decade for the future of this incredible sector and this wonderful country,” the director general said in his speech to the Royal Television Society.

Davie added that industry analysts predict that the UK has “probably seen” the last year when broadcasters make up the majority of video viewing. “Five years ago broadcast TV reached nearly 80 per cent of young adults a week. Today it’s around 50 per cent, and radical changes are happening across all ages. Tik Tok is now bigger than the BBC in video for 16-24s in the UK,” he said.

“So today is the right time to ask the question, are we happy to let the global market simply take its course or are we going to intervene to shape the UK market?”

He set out some key objectives for a successful digital-led future:

  • Ensuring the UK is fully connected, so that everyone can get their TV and radio via internet in the years to come.
  • Champion a clear, market-leading role for the BBC in the digital age.
  • Actively invest in the BBC.
  • Move faster to regulate for future success.

Davie added: “The choice of high-quality TV and audio has never been better. The threat is not about if there is choice, it is about the scope of that choice and what factors shape it.

“Do we want a US-style media market or do we want to fight to grow something different based on our vision? I sometimes read that the BBC needs to clock that the world has changed. I can assure you that we do not need any convincing,” he said.