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EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: Does Television Represent Us?

Film producer and Labour Peer David Puttnam brings his Inquiry into the Future of Television to Liverpool. Phil Redmond CBE, Ruth Fox (Chair, Hansard Society) and others discuss whether TV reflects the lifestyles and opinions of people across the UK, or if it just a mouthpiece for the ‘London bubble’. To what extent does TV offer a space to talk politics or express the different lifestyles of people across all the regions of the UK? Come and contribute to the debate and the Inquiry and listen to producers and writers who want to make TV relevant to people where they live. The event, hosted by Liverpool’s Writing on the Wall festival, will also launch a new study into how TV has contributed to political debate in Liverpool, carried out by researchers at the Hansard Society. This event is one of seven across the UK that will inform the Inquiry which will have its parliamentary launch in June 2016.

Date: Wednesday, 4th May 2016 at 7 pm

Venue: The Black-E, 1 Great George Street, L1 5EW 

Tickets: £5/3 BUY TICKETS HERE

SUBMISSION BY ITV: Original UK Content Investment by the PSBs is Under Pressure

ITV plc’s submission argues that the pressures on investment in original UK content is particularly acute in high-cost genres such as drama. However, public service channels in general, ITV offers, continue to play the most important part in original UK television content. Referring to Ofcom’s headline figures for 2014 about investment in original UK television content, ITV argues that the figures are even starker. While Ofcom suggests that the PSBs’ non-sport original content spend of £2.4bn accounted for 87% of spend on originated content compared to 13% of non-PSBs, ITV’s analysis suggests that at least £80m (or 23%) of the 2014 non-PSB originations spend of £350m is actually accounted for by the wider PSB channel families. Read the submission in full here.

THE RSE’S SUBMISSION TO THE INQUIRY: A New Funding Model for the BBC?

According to the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), the BBC should ‘begin discussions over, and experimentation with, different funding models’ while maintaining its public service remit ‘associated with commissioning risk and editorial protection, and separated from commercial and political interest’. The RSE further argues that the Trust model cannot be sustained, but finds that the establishment of a separate regulator (rather than Ofcom) may be more appropriate. Read the submission in full here.

IN THE NEWS: ‘Abraham hits back at Whittingdale’s privatisation plans’

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David Abraham has hit back at claims from culture secretary John Whittingdale that privatisation would liberate the broadcaster and redefine its “fuzzy” remit.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Whittingdale dismissed speculation he had gone off the idea of a sale and said C4 was “restrained” by its current model.  

But speaking at an event held for the Future for Public Service Television Inquiry in Westminster last night [14 March], the Channel 4 chief executive said he was “puzzled” by the remarks and claimed the culture secretary was basing “a huge decision” on “a vague existential threat of dangers unproven”.

“It does not feel fuzzy to me,” Abraham added. “C4 is more distinctive than other broadcasters – it’s taking more risks, it doesn’t feel particularly vague to me.”

 Miranda Blazeby, Broadcast, 15th March 2016

IN THE NEWS: ‘For-profit Channel 4 would never have aired Paralympics or Gogglebox’

Channel 4 would never have discovered that the Paralympics or shows such as Gogglebox could be hits if it had been run for profit, its chief executive, David Abraham, has said.

The government is considering whether to privatise Channel 4, with US companies such as Scripps Network and Discovery – where Abraham previously worked – mooted as likely buyers. It has said any sale would maintain the channel’s remit to take risks on programming and serve specific audiences such as young people and ethnic minorities.

However, Abraham told an event on Channel 4’s future held at parliament as part of Lord Puttnam’s inquiry into public service broadcasting that commercial pressures would undermine the channel’s remit and ability to take risks.’

Jasper Jackson, The Guardian, 15th March 2016