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Lords: Increase listed events to safeguard PSBs

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The House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee has warned that public service broadcasters need to be better supported if they are to compete against the online streamers.

In its report Public service broadcasting: as vital as ever, the committee has called for urgent action to safeguard their future.

The Lords have put a modest increase in the number of listed sports events, which must be shown free-to-air. This could include The Ashes cricket and The Open Golf Championship.

Chairman of the Committee, Lord Gilbert of Panteg, said: “For many people, especially young people, watching TV in real-time is now the exception rather than the norm. While the arrival of SVODs has created exciting opportunities for the creative sector and for audiences, particularly in drama, we are concerned by the unpredictability of future developments. PSBs provide a stable investment platform for a diverse range of content, made for UK audiences, and freely available on a reliable over the air platform.

The committee also raises concerns about the “behind closed doors” decisions over the Licence Fee and says the BBC should not have been offered, or accepted, responsibility for over-75s’ licences. A new, independent and transparent process for setting the licence fee is necessary. The report recommends the establishment of a new body called the BBC Funding Commission to help set the licence fee.

It says the Government should support PSBs in the new technological environment, but said it did not back a levy on SVODs.



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