Sunday 2 February 2020 6:41 pm

Sky urges Ofcom to take action against public service broadcasters

Sky has urged the broadcasting regulator to take action against ITV and Channel 5, saying the channels benefit from too much “government support”. 

Ofcom, the communications regulator, allows public service broadcasters – the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – certain benefits in return for them making programmes that benefit the public. 

Read More: The BBC keeps scoring own goals with its internal comms

However, paid-for channel Sky has slammed ITV and Channel Five, saying the broadcasters receive more “government support” than they provide in value to the public, the Sunday Times reported. 

In a submission to Ofcom’s planned review of public service broadcasting, the company said: “There is no longer a need for two privately-owned, profit driven commercial broadcasters to be designated as ‘public service broadcasters’ from which they derive more benefit, via in-kind subsidies and other government support, than they deliver in return.

“This model is no longer fit for purpose. We should move away from it, towards interventions that are carefully targeted and are open to everyone.” 

Sky said there was “no reason to alter the role or scope” of the BBC or Channel 4. 

The broadcaster’s comments come as public service channels – the BBC in particular – face increasing scrutiny over their roles.

Read More: BBC ‘faces existential threat’ as it slashes 450 jobs

The BBC is facing political pressure over the licence fee, which funds its output, and is also battling a decline in viewing figures as audiences shift towards online streaming giants such as Netflix. 

Last week, the corporation announced it will cut around 450 jobs as it aims to save £80m by 2022 and reverse falling viewing figures. 

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