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Lords to assess impact of VoD on public servicing broadcasting

House of Lords Communications Committee calls for evidence in new inquiry

The House of Lords has launched an inquiry into the impact of VoD on public servicing broadcasting.

The House of Lords Communications Committee will ask how serious a threat the rising popularity of Netlix and Amazon Prime poses to PSBs, given their cost is less than half that of a TV licence, and conventional TV viewing fell by five per cent in 2018 and among under-25s has halved since 2010.

The committee has called for evidence on questions such as:

  • How can commercial PSBs fund original UK productions at a time of declining advertising revenues?
  • Are the obligations currently placed on PSBs appropriate?
  • Should there be further regulation of on-demand services?
  • Does PSB do enough to reflect and serve the demographics of the UK?
  • Have PSBs responded adequately to market changes?

Chairman of the Committee Lord Gilbert of Panteg said: “PSBs must fulfil a range of obligations, including on the volume and type of adverts they show, programming in specific genres, the way they commission content, the audiences they serve and the watershed.

“On-demand services do not have these obligations and it has been suggested that these big-budget productions are pricing PSBs out of the market by inflating production costs. The Committee will investigate if the concept of PSB retains some value, what form it should take in future and how it could be financially viable.”

The inquiry follows calls by both the Lords and the Government for regulation of tech and streaming companies.