Ofcom plans review of British public service broadcasting

Media regulator Ofcom has launched a review of public service broadcasting to examine how it should be provided in a world dominated by digital TV and the Internet, a Reuters report said.

Broadcasting is heavily regulated in Britain, with many of the main terrestrial providers such as ITV and the BBC expected to provide a certain amount of programming such as children's TV and regional news, the Reuters report said.

Ofcom said it would examine whether services such as the Internet could be used to deliver public service content.

'Public service broadcasting (PSB) still has an important role to play and the review will help maintain and strengthen its quality in the new market conditions,' Ofcom CEO Ed Richards, quoted by the Reuters report, said.

Ofcom's first PSB review in 2005 found there was a continued demand for public service broadcasting but the current provision by commercially funded channels would not survive unchanged in the transition to a multichannel world, the Reuters report said.

The report said Britain's analog TV spectrum is divided into five channels and licensed to broadcasters, but as the value of that spectrum declines and digital broadcasting takes over, Ofcom has said its ability to ask for certain types of programmes will diminish.

Since the last PSB review, audiences have continued to decline and Ofcom will examine whether some content could be provided via different platforms, the report further said.