Insights Ofcom holds virtual conference on “Small Screen: Big Debate”


Videos of all sessions from Ofcom’s Small Screen: Big Debate virtual conference, are now available on demand. Ofcom says that its virtual conference prompted an “open and wide-ranging discussion about the future of PSB within the changing media landscape”. It explored a range of themes, including: what role public service broadcasting (PSB) should play in future; how best audiences’ needs are met; and how PSB might be funded and supported in the future.

The event opened with an introductory address from Ofcom Chief Executive Dame Melanie Dawes, and closed with Sky’s Adam Boulton hosting a live debate between the leaders of the UK’s four largest public service broadcasters (PSBs) – Alex Mahon (Channel 4), Dame Carolyn McCall (ITV), Maria Kyriacou (Channel 5) and the BBC’s Director-General, Tim Davie.

Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy also interviewed some of the most senior figures in UK broadcasting, the BBC’s Director of Creative Diversity June Sarpong; Minister of State for Media and Data John Whittingdale; STV CEO Simon Pitts; BAFTA Chair Krishnendu Majumdar, and former BBC Director General Mark Thompson.

In a series of panel discussions:

Nina Hossain explored the changing role of PSBs in the UK’s creative industries with Richard Williams (Northern Ireland Screen), Sara Geater (All 3 Media), and Pat Younge (Cardiff Productions);

Tina Daheley asked Anna Mallett (ITN), Zai Bennett (Sky), and Shaminder Nahal (Channel 4) what audiences want and value from PSB; and

Cathy Newman quizzed Mathew Horsman (Mediatique), Rasmus Nielsen (The Reuters Institute) and Dame Frances Cairncross on the future funding models for public service broadcasting.

Ofcom has also published a report by EY, which sets out a series of international perspectives on UK PSB. The report includes insights based on interviews with 21 experts from PSBs across the globe, commercial broadcasters, media companies, streaming services, trade associations and academic institutions. These experts share their opinions on the areas where UK PSBs are considered to perform strongly, and where lessons can be learnt from their international counterparts. To access videos of the virtual conference, click here. To access the EY report, click here.