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Fincham, who also runs ITV’s online content operation, said that even just a few years ago when he was running BBC1 the view was that channels were dead.
“The prevalent feeling in the BBC was that the Internet will conquer channels and those running channels were doing something quaint and old fashioned that will pass into history,” he told a Thinkbox event. “The opposite has happened. TV has conquered Internet.”
“Five years ago on a train you would see newspapers and books. Now it is row after row of screens….People go onto the Internet to watch audio and visual programming. That has got to be good news. That is the stuff we do.”
Fincham said that the real issue was how TV companies adapt to the digital world, but that top-class shows such as Downton Abbey and Broadchurch prove that the demand for quality programming remains.
“How we then adapt to that world alongside showing people programmes in the corner of the living room punctuated by advertising … how we ride both horses is a massive challenge for us,” he said. “I don’t see any evidence at all people don’t have an appetite for high quality content.”