Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Programme Producer's Body Highlights Quota Misuse in TV

Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Programme Producer's Body Highlights Quota Misuse in TV

Article excerpt

A lot of attention has rightly been given to the risk the government is taking by planning to open up commercial broadcasting to unrestricted foreign ownership. The issue has inevitably produced two unreconcilable sets of views.

On one side there are the believers in the unfettered operation of free markets, who usually also believe that the ITV companies have it coming anyway because of their previous incompetence.

More cautious souls point to the danger of upsetting a delicate balance and wonder whether any regulator will be able to ensure that US majors observe the spirit as well as the letter of regulation.

Anyway, as the government has absolutely no intention of listening, it's going to happen and we will all just have to get on with it.

Luckily that is not the case with programme-making and the market for independent production. Here Lord Puttnam got his voice heard and there is a real chance that something will happen as a result. It is even possible that changes to the rules on programme production, if properly policed, could have a more profound impact on the industry than who owns the broadcasting licences.

PACT, the independent programme producer's body, has at last been able to make its case - and a pretty powerful one it is. It takes the deployment of a few facts to demonstrate why the independent sector has been unable to develop over the past decade in the way that was once expected.

As PACT points out, there may be a 25% independent production quota in place, but the indies get only 15% of the money spent on UK terrestrial networks. …

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