Aug 24, 2018

Why television’s bogeymen are here to stay

Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon deliver original television shows and movies to an increasing number of households and have the financial clout to outbid broadcasters for the most sought-after projects. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, went further in a speech on Thursday at the Edinburgh Television Festival, proposing a new tax or digital licence fee on the likes of Amazon and Netflix to subsidise the BBC. The incursion by technology companies into television is a theme that dominates media industry conferences, and there is plenty of hand-wringing by anxious executives. Their fears would appear to be justified: a recent report by media regulator Ofcom found that people aged 16-34 now watch more non-broadcast than broadcast television content, with YouTube taking an increasingly large share of available audiences. These days the broadcasters operate their own broadband-delivered "Catch-up" services, but these lack scale and breadth of programming when compared with Netflix and Amazon. The bogeymen are increasing in number, and UK broadcasters are right to fear them.

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