Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Carter Has Won Ofcom Race but His View of Digital World Is Wrong

Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Carter Has Won Ofcom Race but His View of Digital World Is Wrong

Article excerpt

You can be sure when Stephen Carter became favourite for the chief executive's job at Ofcom, the new regulatory body. It was probably a particular argument that resonated with Ofcom chairman Lord Currie.

Carter insisted that as we go into 'this brave new digital world' it was essential to make sure we didn't import frameworks, policies, decisions and judgments based on what was 'the lead medium of yesterday'.

This argument was modern and convergent, and also conveniently excluded anyone who did not agree with the rather extreme statement that conventional television was the lead medium of yesterday. This does not sound like a chance remark by the former managing director of cable group NTL. Instead it is a piece of thoughtful analysis by an executive who worked at a company that was 'a child of convergence'.

Parliamentarians remember an NTL presentation last year at which Carter described television not as the lead medium of yesterday but as a 'sub-set of the internet'.

The new Ofcom chief executive is also happy to discuss how he wants Ofcom not just to understand or regulate digital connectivity but to 'embrace' it. It would, of course, be churlish to remind people where such an analysis got NTL.

But you can see how well such arguments must have played with Lord Currie, the economics professor charged with turning Ofcom into a brand new converged regulator unburdened with the regulation of the past.

How dull other candidates must have seemed when they tried to argue that things are not like that and we will be stuck with a patchwork quilt of competing media for the next decade or more. …

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