British broadcasters must be able to compete on “equal terms” with global giants like Netflix, ITV’s boss has said.
The broadcaster’s chief executive Carolyn McCall said that “viewers are enjoying a golden age of TV”.
She told a media and telecoms conference that “TV and ITV is as relevant today as it has ever been” but added: “It should have a level playing field so it can compete on equal terms. Regulation in this context is important.”
Her comments come after BBC director-general Tony Hall stated last year that “it cannot be right that the UK’s media industry is competing” against streaming companies “with one hand tied behind its back”.
British broadcasters are arguing that rules on competition, prominence, advertising, taxation, content regulation and production quotas need rebalancing, with a set of rules applying to UK companies but barely any for relative newcomers like Amazon, Facebook and Netflix.
British broadcasters are regulated by Ofcom and face strict rules on everything from regional production quotas to the watershed.
The ITV boss said she wanted to “challenge the current narrative” that TV is “somehow broken”.
“TV is at the top of its game, the choice on TV has never been richer”, she said, adding that “live viewing remains strong”.
“The TV and the nation’s love affair with the TV hasn’t diminished. We are spending just as long with the TV set, just in different ways.”
She said that public service broadcasting “reflects the culture and diversity of modern Britain,” while “news and current affairs programmes underpin our democratic life”.
The ITV chief executive said that the response to its plans, with the BBC, for streaming service BritBox had been “fantastic” and “we look forward to bringing other partners on board”.
She was speaking at the Media & Telecoms 2019 & Beyond Conference, taking place in London.