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David Puttnam

Lord Puttnam Chairs an Enquiry on the future of PSBs

Lord Puttnam Chairs an Enquiry on the future of PSBs

26 October, 2015

The future of public service television will be examined by a wide-ranging inquiry overseen by former Channel 4 deputy chair Lord Puttnam.

The inquiry, designed to unpick the challenges facing by broadcasters, will look at ways that public service content can be “nurtured”, including growing the range of services, platforms, funding models, developing technology and overcoming audience fragmentation.

The investigation will discover ways to secure a pipeline of quality content which “informs and inspires, entertains and educates, connects and challenges” audiences in the face of declining investment from PSBs.

It will focus on the impact of substantial BBC budget cuts of recent years.

The inquiry will be split between two bodies – an Advisory Committee will provide guidance on the framing and remit of the inquiry, backed by a Broadcast Panel of industry experts.

A series of events examining issues such as culture and economics in contemporary television will be held over the next few months, ahead of the publication of the inquiry’s findings in June.

The inquiry, which is based at the Media and Communications department of Goldsmiths, University of London, is keen to hear from interested parties.

Puttnam highlighted the “worrying fall in investment” in public service television, singling out arts, news and drama and the “tendency for younger audiences to migrate away to new digital platforms”.

“We now find ourselves in a situation where new players like YouTube and Vice are able to complement some of the work of traditional PSB providers,” he said.

“So surely the time has come to reconsider exactly what we mean by ‘public service’ content and consider new the regulatory structures that will ensure the UK public continues to be served by high-quality, original free to air television.”

Source: Broadcast Now; Matthew Campelli; 26/10/15