UK Media Regulator Reviews Public Service Web Content, Channel 4’s Business Model

UK media regulator Ofcom will conduct a series of reviews of the country’s online public service content – after earlier suggesting a shortfall should prompt the creation of a state-mandated interactive publishing house. Ofcom published a paper in January warning a lack of online material equivalent to that the BBC produces for broadcast meant it should create a “Public Service Publisher” with a budget large enough to offset commercial content from overseas. Before a full fall review in to the whole public service media landscape, it is now commissioning an independent economic analysis to “examine the nature of any possible shortfall”, a review to identify what content is currently available and a round of summer seminars to ask the industry what it thinks (Release).

Channel 4: Meanwhile, the broadcaster’s future is up for grabs after Ofcom announced it would review the network in the same wide-ranging fall review. CEO Andy Duncan has repeatedly said C4, which fulfills a public service remit but is ad-funded, will face a £100 ($200) million shortfall as it expands on the web, digital radio and digital TV over the next few years. According to a range of options Ofcom will consider in the fall, and which was released today, C4 is likely to get subsidy to continue meeting public service requirements while extending its digital expansion -= but the review could lead to an overhaul of its funding model.