Des Freedman, Professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University, argues that the closing of BBC Three is a major blow to youth engagement that could have been avoided with better management and spending.
The BBC’s decision to close its sole youth-focused TV channel, BBC Three, is both depressing and divisive. Depressing because it represents yet another attack on a generation that is already facing the sharp end of austerity policies with high youth unemployment, welfare cuts, the prospect of huge debts for those who choose to go to university and the lack of affordable housing which will now prevent millions of young people from leaving the family home.
It is divisive because one reaction to the announcement has been to argue that either BBC Three or BBC Four, aimed at an older audience, should have been shut. In fact we should be arguing that the Corporation should maintain programming and close neither service. If the Corporation needs to make savings, perhaps it might re-consider Jeremy Clarkson’s salary (£14 million last year) or re-think its investment in capital projects (like the £100 million written off in its failed digital media initiative) and its compensation to senior managers (£25million was spent on severance payments to top staff in only three years up to the end of 2012). Continue reading
Posted by: March 10, 2014
Tagged with: BBC, BBC Three, UK
LSE’s Leslie Haddon responds to a 3 March post by Chandni Rani on the Inforrm blog that argued the proposed Online Safety Bill currently in committee in the UK Parliament would be a “big step forward” in protecting children online. He shares recent findings from research into parent-child communication about online content.
Based on the current research being undertaken by the European Commission funded EU Kids Online and Net Children Go Mobile (NCGM) research projects, I would just like to qualify some of the point raised by Chandni Rani in her recent post on the Online Safety Bill about the communication between parents and their children. As proposed the Online Safety Bill would oblige for internet and mobile service providers to have filters for adult content as defaults that adults customers can opt out of and contains provisions aimed at helping educate parents about online safety.
Rani’s piece points to the proposals to educate parents about online Safety as one of the most important aspects of the Bill, arguing that it is“ arguably the most effective in keeping children safe online”, and that “there is no substitute for parents taking the responsibility to ensure their child is safely surfing online”. While increased efforts to educate parent are to be applauded, it is worthwhile pointing out that in the surveys we have conducted and the in-depth interviews we are currently conducting in the UK it is clear that we have already been quite successful in getting this message across. Continue reading
Yesterday a new European regulator’s group was launched in Brussels. This creates for the audiovisual media sector a pan-European body similar to those that exist for telecommunications and spectrum. Monica Arino, Director of International Affairs at Ofcom explains why the group was formed and what it will do.
On the 3rd of February, the European Commission announced the creation of a new European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA). This initiative comes against a background of discussions amongst regulators themselves, on the need for greater senior level cooperation to collectively contribute to European policy developments in this sector. The European Commission had also previously explored the possibility of creating such a group, as part of its consultation on the independence of regulatory authorities, and in November, the Council of the European Union invited Member States and the Commission to strengthen the independence and cooperation between regulatory authorities in this field.
João Carlos Magalhães, LSE MSc Media and Communications Governance student, discusses political battles over Brazil’s national ‘Internet Bill of Rights’ against the backdrop of the upcoming Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance that will be held in São Paulo in April.
As the international community concerned with Internet governance waits for the global multistakeholder meeting that will take place in Brazil in April, Brazilian politicians, mainstream press, and activists are focused elsewhere: their Congress.
In the forthcoming weeks (perhaps days), Brazilian Congressmen will likely vote on a sort of national Internet Bill of Rights, dubbed in Portuguese “Marco Civil da Internet”. And the outcome of this bill may influence the legitimacy of Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, to lead the meeting – created in the wake of her call to arms to the UN for revamped global Internet governance, after the revelation that she was one of the heads of state who was spied on by the NSA. Continue reading
Kate Smith, a writer and academic from Edinburgh Napier University, questions whether there is Scottish demand for the BBC in response to Culture Secretary Maria Miller‘s recent comments at the Oxford Media Convention that Scottish independence would also mean separating from the BBC.
When culture secretary, Maria Miller, said a Yes vote by Scotland would entail the departure of the BBC, it reignited the debate about its future in an independent Scotland, and also its value north of the border.
Cuts at the broadcaster will mean that only 2.4% of the total licence fee will be spent on making programmes specifically for Scottish audiences by 2017. This is in spite of the high quality of programmes already produced and the broadcast talent clearly available. The success of programmes such as BBC Reporting Scotland and STV’s Scotland Tonight shows the potential to have output of relevance, representation and stature. Continue reading
South African contempt of court rules are being tested as one of the country’s biggest trials ever has just begun to be broadcast. LSE MSc student and lawyer Anri Van Der Spuy argues that existing rules might not be appropriate for the new media environment and discusses the implications.
03:00 ― 3 shots. Screams. Silence. 03:10 ― 3 more shots.
Blade Runner Pistorius ‘murders lover’.
Oscar’s bloody Valentine!
This random sample of headlines, from British and South African newspapers following the arrest of Oscar Pistorius for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp are but an indication of the nature of media coverage that can be expected this week when Pistorius’ criminal trial starts[i] in the North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.
After a ruling last week allowed full radio and partial television broadcasting of the trial (subject to certain conditions), the time has come to brace ourselves for the opening of a Pistorius box of stories, sensationalism, speculation, and strife. While the ruling may be viewed as a victory for open justice in South Africa, one cannot help to wonder whether the country’s judiciary will be able to protect the administration of justice and Pistorius’ right to a fair trial during the unprecedented barrage of real-time and 24-hour-a-day media coverage that is about to commence. Continue reading
Ofcom Board Chairman Colette Bowe speaks with LSE’s Damian Tambini. Photo by Amna Uppal
At the Oxford Media Convention, Damian Tambini interviewed Dame Colette Bowe, the outgoing Chairman of the board of Ofcom. This is an edited extract from that interview.
Damian: Why didn’t Ofcom renew your contract?
Colette: Ofcom wasn’t asked to renew my contract. When I was appointed, which was on a five year renewable contract, I should have seen that for an independent regulator to be appointed on a renewable contract, there’s possibly an issue there. So once I was in the role, I decided and communicated it to both the Secretaries of State that had been in the department while I was at Ofcom that I didn’t wish to have my contract renewed at the end of the period which is the end of next month, because I felt that it was extremely important for the Chairman of an independent regulator to have a fixed term. I think five years is about the right fixed period, and I think that the fixed term gives an important signal about independence.
I think your successor has been appointed for three years. Do you see this kind of arrangement - with the potential for seeking renewal – as a problem for independence? Wouldn’t it follow logically? Continue reading
Jane Humphreys, Head of Spectrum Policy at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport shares her remarks made at yesterday’s Oxford Media Convention, which consider the choices for using UHF spectrum for both TV and mobile broadband in the UK.
Spectrum is finite – we can’t make more of it, though technology is helping us to get more out of it. The UHF Spectrum below 1GHz is particularly useful as the radiowaves travel miles rather than metres and penetrate buildings. It is very good for television, and it is very good for mobile communications. The challenge is to get the best value for the UK from that spectrum and to manage change well.
Does that mean moving TV and PMSE out of 700MHz? We will know better this year when Ofcom publishes its consultation and CBA, and we develop our business case. If the mid-level growth scenario from Real Wireless for an 80 fold increase in mobile data to 2030 is anywhere near the truth, we will have to find additional frequencies. The 700MHz band would make a big difference as it is globally harmonised, so there would be significant benefits for consumers and operators. Continue reading
At today’s Oxford Media Convention, Patrick Barwise, Emeritus Professor of Management and Marketing at London Business School, and Robert Picard, Director of Research at the Reuters Institute, launched a Reuters Institute report based on their independent academic study of what the UK television market would be like if there were no BBC TV. In this guest blog, they summarise the study’s aims, conclusions and implications.
Critics of the BBC often argue that, funded by a compulsory licence fee, it distorts the market, making it hard for commercial competitors to prosper and meet consumers’ needs. They conclude that viewers would be better served if the BBC were smaller – allowing commercial broadcasters to expand – and showed only public service programmes (valued for ‘citizenship’ reasons) that the market will not provide.
Although this argument that the BBC ‘crowds out’ commercial provision has been widely made, none of its proponents has to our knowledge provided any empirical evidence to support it or tested the presumption that a free market without the BBC, funded by subscriptions and advertising, would meet consumers’ (although maybe not citizens’) needs better than the current mixed economy. Continue reading
In conjunction with the Oxford Media Convention today, we are publishing comments from some of the speakers. Martin Cave, who is a visiting professor at Imperial College Business School, Deputy Chair of the Competition Commission, and a regulatory economist specialising in competition law and network industries, shares his comments on free-to-air (FTA) television and spectrum management.
Free-to-air television is currently a very vexing topic, with study groups popping up everywhere, including among the engineers at CEPT and a European group, headed by Pascal Lamy, with a remit to look at the whole UHF band. My remarks try to place this debate in the wider context of spectrum management for the communications sector.
The official UK approach to this issue gives considerable priority to market forces or use of prices to direct spectrum to efficient uses. This would mean use of service-neutral auctions to make or renew awards. In fact this isn’t happening, for a variety of reasons. First, technical interference problems are proving intractable. Second, the panic in Europe and elsewhere about the spectrum crunch expected from increased mobile data traffic has created a predisposition to return to ‘administrative methods’, initially with the 800 MHz band and now with the 700 MHz. The US, as noted below, seems less prone to such a strong reaction. Continue reading