Thursday, February 12, 2009

The metropolitan media elites' views on OFCOM's PSB review

A London RTS session held yesterday (11th Feb.) and chaired by the well respected front man of Radio 4's Feedback Roger Bolton had the distinguished speakers Prof. Steven Barnett (University of Westminster) and Lord McNally (Lib Dem Media expert) one might thought it a good place to start a debate on the OFCOM considerations of the future of 'Public Service Broadcasting in the UK' but in fact the closest the session got to controversy was over the question of if 'Mock the Week' was providing a more illuminating insight into current affairs for the younger generation than the US TV offering The Daily show with John Stewart.

The problem is that the two protagonists are very much part of the establishment and are unable to provide the critical analysis which is so badly needed.

The fact that the printed media is able to produce a diverse and dynamic offering to the public without a single public body dealing with 'market failure' seems to have eluded those comfortable employees of the BBC and C4 who consider minority audiences (and awards) to be so much more important than those hard pressed folks who provide their secure havens. To a certain section of the great and good the electronic media appears to be an industry like no other.

Just as the launch of Sky 20 years ago extended audience choice so will the exciting technological developments around iptv expand the public's horizons.

My personal belief is that in the next 5-10 years such beliefs as those that are currently considered 'truths' by some DCMS mandarins will be challenged, and that ultimately a more democratic and diverse bill of fare will be made available to audiences in the form of a broadcast 'long tail' is close to inevitable.

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