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Towards A Culturally Rich and Economically Sustainable Television Sector in Wales

Powell, Sian and Noonan, Caitriona

The submission by Sian Powell and Caitriona Noonan (School of Journalism, Media and Culture, Cardiff University) focuses on the Welsh public service broadcasting landscape in the context of political devolution. According to Powell and Noonan, while there is clear evidence of ‘success and a well-placed sense of optimism’ about the recent changes to the Welsh television sector, key issues remain, including a limited range of news sources about devolved politics, and a significant decrease in investment and production of English language programming in Wales. And while Powell and Noonan acknowledge Wales as being the key site for drama production, they also point out that the drama produced ‘rarely reflects life in Wales and Wales is solely a location for filming rather than part of the narrative setting.’ Creating the content that is representative of Welsh communities in the context of the decentralisation of broadcasting services is crucial, and it can be achieved by increasing financial resources, enabling local decision-making and strengthening a cultural commitment to change the public service landscape.

Sian Powell and Caitriona Noonan

A Future for Public Service Television - the Northern Irish Angle

Griffin, Ken

Public service broadcasting, according to Dr Ken Griffin, occupies a critical role in Northern Irish society as a provider of non-sectarian news and current affairs coverage. According to Griffin, UTV, has particularly strong connection with its audience and has built an excellent reputation for independent journalism during the Troubles. However, ITV’s recent takeover of UTV has ‘introduced considerable uncertainty about the station’s future’ due to ‘conflicting business models’, with a risk of diminishing local TV output. BBC NI, on the other hand, while ‘consistently securing lower ratings than UTV’, is a ‘highly valuable television service’ and the only NI provider for speakers of the region’s two minority languages and providing a ‘far wider range of programming’ compared to UTV. The governance provisions within the White Paper, however, focused on boardroom numbers rather than nomination procedures, and thus ‘represent a significant threat to the BBC’s editorial independence.’


Skills and Training Investment are Vital to the Success of Public Service Broadcasting

Creative Skillset

As the creative industries skills partner, Creative Skillset‘s (CS) submission looks at the key factors that enable relevant skills provision from entry to executive level. While Creative Skillset works across the creative sectors, the submission focuses on the television industry and public service broadcasting more specifically, which, according to CS, has been a driving force for innovative and high quality content across genres. However, with the rapid pace of change in business models, technology and audience behaviour, there is a high demand for more ‘holistic and collaborative approach across not just PSBs but all screen-based industries’. CS identifies barriers to entry in creating a workforce from a wide range of backgrounds, and a ‘systemic culture of those wishing to gain industry skills having to undertake unpaid ‘work experience’, affecting the current state of diversity in the PSB workforce. According to CS, the Government’s Apprenticeships levy, if implemented properly, could provide ‘a timely and effective opportunity for industry to help diversify and supply a cohort of new entrants to PSB.’

Creative Skillset

Back to the Future: The Uses of Television in the Digital Age

Bailey, Michael

Michael Bailey (Department of Sociology, University of Essex) offers a comprehensive submission in which he critically examines the historical thinking that shaped television’s social purpose and its democratic mission. He reflects on how these ideas can guide and shape current debates of the role of public service television in the context of the medium’s changing production, distribution and consumption practices. Bailey’s submission, amongst others, reminds us of the enduring values of good policy interventions which are enabling rather than prohibitive. He highlights Richard Hoggart’s important distinction between duties and rights for programme makers, legislators and viewers alike. The public’s duty is ‘to respect other people’s tastes’; legislators have a duty ‘to create structures and methods of financing for broadcasting which encourage the production of ‘good programmes’ and ‘to enable disparate voices to be heard’ and the duty of programme makers is to commission programmes that ‘bring before us all the widest range of subject matter, the whole scope and variety of human awareness and experience, the best and the worst, the new and the challenging, the old and familiar, the serious and the light [thus] enriching the lives of every one of us.’

Michael Bailey

The need for Quality PSTV Programmes and Content will Continue Undiminished


As an independent campaign organisation, Save Our BBC’s submission focuses on safeguarding the BBC’s public service ethos, including its cultural purpose, social responsibility and the importance of its contribution to UK citizenship. While Channel 4 still fulfils its public service remit, the abandonment of ITV’s regional infrastructure meant that some fundamentals of public service have been lost, specifically regional current affairs and specialist programming. Furthermore, proliferation of television channels means that the overall television output is towards popular programming and shrinking of a range and volume of public service genres, with over-reliance on the BBC alone to provide free to air children’s, natural history and religious original output. While there is a considerable amount of public service content on non-public service platforms, the vast majority of it is not indigenous to the UK and does not necessarily reflect or contribute towards UK citizenship. According to Save Our BBC, while the production, consumption and distribution practices may substantially change, ‘the need for quality PSTV programmes and content will continue undiminished’, and the full range of information, education and entertainment ‘must remain available to be accessed by their audiences.’

Save Our BBC