Advanced Television

Ofcom drops PSP

March 13, 2008

The Ofcom chief executive, Ed Richards, has confirmed the UK regulator is to abandon plans for a “public service publisher”. He said the idea had “served its purpose” in shifting the debate on the future of public service broadcasting by emphasising the importance of digital media.

It is understood that Ofcom no longer envisages recommending the creation of a specific body tasked with producing, distributing or funding public service content. The PSP, which Ofcom first proposed in 2004 as a solution to broadcasters’ dwindling ability to afford making public service programming, was originally envisaged as a body that would have a budget of £300 million (E403m). Its projected costs were scaled back last year to between £50 million and £100 million a year, with a revised focus on exploiting opportunities in new media.

Ofcom’s basic idea of the PSP was to provide competition to the BBC and to avoid the UK being left with just one public service broadcaster. Richards warned that it was important to maintain plurality in public service broadcasting after digital switchover in 2012.

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