BBC director-general Tim Davie has said Britain is “miles away” from a new digital switchover.
Davie told an audience at RTS Cambridge he anticipated that by 2030, most people would be using the Internet as their primary connection to broadcasting – the figure is currently 15%, though many are keeping their broadcast connection as well.
“I don’t want the public service broadcasters and households who may be less attuned to digital change, all those things, to be disadvantaged by not having a choice and the wonders of the iPlayer and ITVX. That’s crazy. So, I think us getting together and saying manufacturers, here’s a way which audiences can transition to an online connected television where they can trust us … we offer a free service and we work with television manufacturers other platforms and critically we offer a flawless platform where you can get live television alongside catch-up and SVOD.”
On Monday, the PSB-controlled Everyone TV announced Freely will ultimately stream all of the UK’s Freeview channels over the internet. It will combine BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 onto a single app available to Smart TVs.
“I think Freely’s got a really good chance because it’s got all of the public service broadcasters together, and we’re quite, sometimes we don’t have to talk ourselves down in this country, it’s exhausting. I mean, we’ve got all the public service broadcasters. We’ve got people with fantastic experience in working with major TV manufacturers,” said Davie.
“I think this is going to be a fight. And I think that you’re never going to own the whole market. Loads of people want to own the front of your television. But I do think that having the public service broadcasters as one player in the game for a big section of society that is well worth investing.”
Davie added that due prominence was just one element in public broadcasters being able to continue to guarantee scale. These also included having a share in some of the platforms, the new media bill, and trading with the platforms for their position, rather than being “driven by the algorithm”.