Public service broadcasters should work together to create a ‘Brit Player’ to rival Netflix, the head of Ofcom said today.
Sharon White told the Outside the Box conference in London that broadcasters should pull together their on-demand services to create a platform offering popular British shows such as Broadchurch, Blue Planet and Bake Off in one place.
“Audiences tell us what they most want are original, UK-produced shows that portray them and their communities in an authentic way, reflecting their diversity,” White said.
The head of the TV regulator said a combined platform from providers such as the BBC, ITV and Channel Four would bring in more international funding and boost the UK’s presence on the world stage.
“I remain convinced that collaboration is vital to the success of our industry,” she said.
White’s comments come as the industry grapples with disruption from tech companies investing large sums of money to produce original on-demand TV shows.
“If the growth of Netflix and Amazon tells us one thing, it is that viewers will flock to single destinations that offer a wide variety of quality content,” White added.
But the Ofcom boss acknowledged that a unified streaming service would pose economic and structural challenges for broadcasters.
She also suggested new legislation would be required to ensure broadcasters enjoy prominence on internet TV services.
Today Freeview said it will be launching a new mobile app early in 2019, allowing viewers to stream live programmes and on-demand content from public service broadcasters.
“In an increasingly fragmented media landscape, the new Freeview mobile app is an excellent example of broadcaster and industry collaboration in action,” said Jonathan Thompson, chief executive of Digital UK, the company that leads Freeview.
“Today’s viewers value having access to their favourite shows when and where they want and the new app provides the aggregated experience that consumers increasingly expect from a TV provider.”
But White has called for a platform with a “single login” to compete with companies such as Netflix, which she said spent almost $8bn (£6.3bn) on developing content last year.