Broadcasting is going through a period of change: BBC Trust chairman Lyons

MUMBAI: The media industries in general, and broadcasting in particular, are going through an extraordinary period of change where the EU regulatory framework has served audiences well. But this is a timely moment to ask whether it remains appropriate for the new world of digital convergence and on-demand services, into which everyone is moving at an extreme speed.

This point was rasied by BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons at the EU conference in Strasbourg. He emphasized upon the fact that the BBC is more than simply a broadcaster.

"It is expected to fulfil public purposes that go well beyond the provision of high quality television and radio programmes and online content," Lyons said.

"These public purposes are set out in some detail in the new BBC Charter, in effect its constitution, which was put in place 18 months ago. The public purposes range from sustaining citizenship and civil society, through promoting education and learning and stimulating creativity and cultural excellence, to representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities, and bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK. The BBC is also tasked with delivering to audiences the benefits of emerging communications, technologies and services," he added.

Lyons explained that the BBC can only deliver these high public purposes if it remains independent.

"The public purpose of 'sustaining citizenship', for example, implies the provision of high quality impartial coverage of news and current affairs. This is the essential fuel of an informed democracy; and impartiality in news provision cannot be sustained without full editorial independence. The independence of the BBC is guaranteed by the Charter and this includes independence from government. Of course government has a role, but that role is closely defined. It is to set the Charter (there is a new Charter every 10 years or so) and to set the formula that defines the licence fee for the Charter period," elaborated Lyons.

However, Lyons believes that oversight of the BBC is carried out not by government, or by Parliament, but by the BBC Trust and hence one of the key roles of the Trust would be to defend the independence of the BBC from undue pressure from any quarter.

In terms of the things that the BBC Trust has been doing, he said that it had challenged the BBC executive to do much more to ensure that BBC responds appropriately to the needs of all audiences in the UK. "We have supported plans to move very significant amounts of production and control of airtime out of London. Our aim is that by the end of the Charter period in 2016 around 50 per cent of BBC production should take place outside London."

"We have also prompted the Executive to make significant changes in BBC journalism to ensure that our news gives a truer and more accurate picture of life throughout the UK, and fully reflects the fact that powers have been devolved from Westminster to new legislative bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Taken together, these changes are taking the BBC in a new direction – a direction set by its audiences, and mediated by the Trust as the representative of those audiences," Lyon stated.

He added that a similar journey had begun in regard to the relationship between the BBC and other organisations active in the UK media market. He also conceded that this relationship would never be a completely easy one.

This is because there will always be areas of direct competition between what the BBC provides and what the market supplies. Convergence and market changes are bringing new areas of competition as both public and private providers seek to make the most of the opportunities created by the digital revolution.

"On this general issue, our fundamental position as trustees, representing the interest of audiences, is this: audiences clearly like wide choice in their media diet and deserve to get the benefits of competition and innovation, so the BBC must not use its market power in a way that restricts audience choice; and we have the power to ensure this happens... the power to approve new BBC services used to lie with government. But under the new charter, it rests with us. This is a significant strengthening of the independence of the BBC."

Latest Reads
Disney’s Marvel HQ to offer fresh content

The Walt Disney Company India is making some changes to its newly renamed channel Marvel HQ. To attract viewers, the chanel will undergo a content change. The channel aims to transport viewers into the world of epic storytelling told through inspiring characters and will reach out to kids 9+ (boys...

Television TV Channels Kids
Ad, subscription revenues drive Zeel numbers up for third quarter

The Subhash Chandra led Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited reported 17.9 percent year-on year (y-o-y) growth in operating revenue at Rs 2,166.77 crore for the quarter ended 31 December 2018 (Q3 2019, quarter or period under review) as compared to the Rs 1,838.07 crore for the corresponding year...

Television TV Channels GECs
DSPORT to telecast marquee european tour events in india

DSPORT, a premium sports channel of Discovery Communications, will broadcast live , Marquee events from the European Tour 2019, Europe’s premiere and one of golf’s strongest professional tours featuring some of the world’s top professional golfers.

Television TV Channels Sports
TV18 boosts Network18 numbers for third quarter

Mukesh Dhirbhai Ambani’s media arm, Network18 reported improved numbers for the quarter ended 31 December 2018 (Q3 2019, quarter under review) as compared to the corresponding year ago quarter Q3 2018).

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
PM Narendra Modi's interview with ANI News garners 5.9 mn impressions

Indian PM Narendra Modi gave an interview to ANI News on 1 January 2019. It raked in 5.9 million impressions in the Hindi news genre, according to BARC India.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Comedy Central and BSF join forces to ‘Spread The Cheer’ among the Jawans in Jammu

Comedy Central – India’s leading 24-hour English Entertainment channel is committed towards making India smile and spreading cheer in citizens’ lives.

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Discovery Channel to premiere epic Docu-Drama ‘First Man'

Who are we? Where did we come from? What makes us human? The two hour special First Man, premiering on Discovery Channel on January 15 at 9:00 pm

Television TV Channels Factual @ Discovery
&TV presents an unusual love story Main Bhi Ardhangini

It is often said that a man’s life can never be complete without a wife i.e. his ‘Ardhangini’ or his better half. Donning multiple roles

Television TV Channels GECs
Follow your passion with this slice-of-life story of Fanney Khan with its World Television Premiere Only on Sony MAX

Set to conquer the world battling the daily rat-race, a father-daughter duo is passionate to achieve their goals against all odds.

Television TV Channels GECs

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories