LONDON (Brand Republic) - The Independent Television Commission has called for an increase in self-regulation among UK terrestrial broadcasters to coincide with the launch of the government’s proposed communications regulator Ofcom.
ITC chief executive Patricia Hodgson said, in a speech at yesterday’s European Media Forum, that terrestrial broadcasters should be allowed to manage their own businesses within the priorities set by the government. She said that Ofcom’s role would be to apply them.
Hodgson used the speech to outline three initiatives that the ITC had developed to ensure broadcasters were operating within broadcasting guidelines.
Firstly, the ITC had undertaken exhaustive research into what audiences say they want from public service. Secondly, licence holders will be asked to volunteer a rolling annual statement of how they intend to deliver their remit and to report on their own performance; and thirdly, the reports will be accompanied by audience research and quantitative analysis of the sector.
The ITC wants to identify measurable benchmarks for a channel’s performance such as hours of new programming, regional production and spending on original production.
“We can and should rely on broadcasters to manage their own business, providing they are accountable; providing there is independent and objective data to keep them honest, and providing over time, if remits aren’t met, there are effective powers to ensure they are met,” Hodgson said.
Until now, broadcasters are understood to have been unhappy about the way the ITC regulated the industry, which has been based on monitoring each station’s output across all programme categories.
The current guidelines were introduced in 1994 as a means of testing whether the stations were meeting public-service programming obligations set out in their licensing agreements.