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PSBs ‘could negotiate retransmission fees’ with FAANG to boost revenues

Ofcom publishes public service broadcasting in the digital age report

Public service broadcasters could boost their revenues by charging retransmission fees to digital platforms, according to a new paper from Ofcom.

The regulator has published its Public Service Broadcasting in a digital age report which considers the importance of public service broadcasting, and what Ofcom can do to support the system in the next decade and beyond.

Other findings within the paper include:

–  a “rush to scale” being driven by the current spate of mergers and acquisitions

– PSBs may need to work collectively to strengthen their position with Smart TV manufacturers and platforms; Ofcom says it expects the BBC to take the lead in forming partnerships

– PSBs should invest in high quality, distinctive UK content in order to differentiate themselves from the global players and maintain a large UK audience. Ofcom suggests “such content will need to be both more distinctive and more appealing to audiences at the greatest risk of turning away from PSB – young people, people living outside London and people from an ethnic minority.”

The paper also suggests primary legislation could be required if Parliament were to take the view that prominence of on-demand services is crucial for the future health of the public service broadcasters.

The full document can be found at Ofcom’s website.