The much-anticipated Media Bill received its first reading in parliament this week, following its inclusion in the King’s Speech during Tuesday’s State Opening of Parliament.
The bill will update the framework for regulating public service broadcasting. It will also bring streamers and other online video services under Ofcom’s jurisdiction, placing them under similar obligations and standards as TV broadcasters, with a new video-on-demand code to ensure compliance. The bill will also update rules to ensure greater prominence for UK PSBs on other major platforms.
The Secretary of State also announced that the status of Channel 4 will be changed as part of the Media Bill, enabling it to produce and own rights in its own programmes, with safeguarding measures to protect independent production and production in the nations and regions. It also places greater obligations on Channel 4 to be financially sustainable.
Directors UK has been feeding into consultations and participating in roundtable discussions with DCMS on areas of the draft Media Bill. In June, we attended an industry meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss issues around the proposed changes to Channel 4, and are pleased that some of the safeguarding recommendations from that discussion have been included. We will continue to scrutinise and update on the passage of bill as it is debated in parliament.
If you want to find out more about the bill’s announcement, you can read Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Lucy Frazer’s statement or read the parliamentary bill online.