Monday 21 October 2019

Regulatory bodies slowing BBC down, says chairman

Sir David Clementi said a change in regulations is needed.

BBC chairman Sir David Clementi (Jeff Overs/BBC)
BBC chairman Sir David Clementi (Jeff Overs/BBC)

By Craig Simpson, Press Association

The chairman of the BBC has called for a reduction in regulatory red tape so the broadcaster can compete with Netflix.

Sir David Clementi said regulation is hampering the BBC as it tries to adapt to rapid changes in the media landscape.

He claimed the broadcaster’s efforts to give UK audiences what they now expect from a media platform are being frustrated by Ofcom intervention.

Addressing the Institute for Public Policy Research convention in Oxford, the chairman said Ofcom’s insistence in December last year that the BBC conduct a public interest test to add box sets to iPlayer shows how the broadcaster is being hindered in the media marketplace.

Sir David said: “To stand still is to go backwards rapidly. We need to find a way forward that does not play into the hands of our global competitors.

“Ofcom took a narrow view of the marketplace. The result of regulatory bodies in the UK has been to slow the BBC down.

“Do we wrap ourselves up in red tape and regulation when media companies need to be fast and agile?”

The BBC chairman said companies such as Netflix and Amazon are not shackled by the same public service responsibilities, and their relative freedom allows them to adapt more quickly to what viewers want.

He said regulation should change to allow the BBC to modernise its online service more rapidly in order to keep up.

PA Media

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