Major review of UK production sector confirmed

OFCOM chief executive Sharon White

OFCOM chief executive Sharon White

Ofcom has confirmed it will undertake a comprehensive review of the £3 billion UK production sector, examining areas including the impact of foreign ownership and the widespread consolidation in the content sector.

Publishing the terms of its review today, the UK communications regulator said it will examine four areas: the changing production market and its possible future development; the effectiveness of current regulation; the impact of regulation on the public broadcasters; and options for reforming the rules governing the production sector.

The probe is being conducted after an official request from John Whittingdale, the UK secretary of state for culture, media and sport.

Ofcom’s investigation follows a separate review of the UK oublic broadcasting sector, which was published in July. The earlier review will provide context for the new report, Ofcom said.

“The consolidation of the independent production sector and the acquisition of major UK producers by large foreign media corporations means there is much greater uncertainty for the PSBs about the future shape of the programme supply market,” Ofcom noted.

“There are emerging questions about the market’s ability to supply a range of high quality original content, particularly in genres which are the least attractive commercially.”

The review will not cover the BBC’s approach to content production, which is already being examined in a separate report.