BBC: ‘We are guardians of British values’

The BBC faces a ‘David versus Goliath fight against west coast giants’ to protect British values and prevent the spread of fake news and consequent social unease and division, the BBC director general Tony Hall will tell staff in a speech this week.

Hall will say the rise and rise US ‘Faang’ companies – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google – means Britain faces greater challenges than at any time since the 1970s from tech companies dominating global media.

Citing big market acquisitions by the likes of Disney and Comcast, he says the media world is consolidating at a speed not seen before, and the BBC needs to change radically to meet the challenge. Old business models are being ripped up and “the global media landscape is likely to be dominated by four, perhaps five, businesses of the west coast of America”.

He says the tech giants will exploit personal data to determine content and marketing and will use their economic power to recruit whatever talent they want.

He claims UK PSBs can continue to thrive but only if it accelerates reform, and getting it right is vital for the future of British creativity. Hall will lay out a plan for the BBC to set a “gold standard” for broadcast news, invest in and promote new talent, back creative ideas, reinvent and enhance services such as iPlayer, and prioritise reaching young audiences. Post-Brexit, he will signal he wants to work with other public service broadcasters on how the BBC responds.

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