Following reports Paul Dacre and Charles Moore are being considered for two of the top jobs in the British TV industry, TVBEurope spoke to one analyst to discuss what impact the pair might have.
The Sunday Times reported the government is considering offering Dacre the chairmanship of media regulator Ofcom, with Moore installed as the new chair of the BBC.
The report suggests senior government said hiring Moore as a replacement for outgoing BBC chair David Clementi is a “done deal,” while Johnson “wooed” Dacre for the Ofcom job over drinks at Downing Street in February.
However, culture secretary Oliver Dowden told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme, that no decisions have been made prior to the government launching a formal recruitment process.
“We have a formal process for them to go through,” said Dowden. Asked if there had been “behind the scenes” talks about the roles, Dowden said: “I have conversations with people all the time… It is not my role to offer them the job.”
TVBEurope spoke to independent analyst Alex DeGroote about his reaction to the reports.
“There are formal processes which still have to take place and there will be many candidates,” he said. “I’m surprised people have fallen for this wind-up. The Ofcom role is very deep tech, unsexy and regulatory. Is it really what Paul Dacre wants in his mid-70’s? Remember, the BBC and Ofcom chairmans are also non-executive positions. The role of a chairman is mainly around governance, not strategy. The BBC chairman is not a Soviet-style dictator, he works with other board members and stakeholders.”
DeGroote said he thinks it’s hard to say what kind of impact Dacre could have on the commercial TV sector as chair of Ofcom. “He understands advertising and the media world as the former Daily Mail editor, and the demographic of UK commercial TV is quite old these days. The Ofcom role in UK media is very deep tech and regulatory, but it also may include work on the big tech social platforms, The chair role is about three years in duration, so the length of his tenure should not be exaggerated.”
With Andrew Neil preparing to launch GB News, and Dacre and Moore possibly taking taking up senior roles in broadcasting, does DeGroote think is the UK TV industry under attack from the right?
“I don’t think it’s right of left, it’s about Brexit,” said DeGroote. “There is a huge culture war in the UK since the Brexit vote in 2016. This now filters through in terms of media and politics and will not go away in a hurry.
“However, many people under 35 don’t even watch linear TV anymore.There are more media platforms now than ever, including social, for people of all political persuasions. Video is displacing TV. Finally, why would any sensible media company or broadcaster actively want to exclude 50 per cent of the population, that limits the audience potential,” concludes DeGroote.