Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Consider the developments in British broadcasting in recent years that have contributed to the industry’s current position.

There are many contributing factors the overall success of British broadcasting in recent years. Since its early development it has been clouded with threat and danger that could have easily ended it, however it has always overcome, and in this essay I shall discover what British broadcasting serves to us today.

The Broadcasting Act in 1990 was the opening window to broadcaster’s recent success. Freeing up on editorial censorship meant more daring and exciting programmes could be made, and the creation of more channels fired up the competition to cater for audience pleasures and desires. As well as this commercial channels were supplied with more funding, and the BBC also had to outsource 25% of its productions. Overall this freed pressure put on institutions as well as provided fresh opportunities to please audiences and reach new levels of financial success.

The emergence of new technologies is something that has impacted all our lives, from the I pod to viewing television on mobile phones, its proliferation has overwhelmed British culture, and broadcasters have used these technologies to their advantage. Interactivity has allowed audiences to interact with their TV’s in many new ways, and it has also enabled new and better quality types of programming such as reality TV- a huge asset to Channel 4’s current commercial position. When Big Brother was released in 1997 is considered the saviour of the medium of British Broadcasting, as well as Channel 4’s existence. It addressed the desires of the audience and changed the society we live in. Now of course other reality shows equally as successful in terms of cultural and financial impact have been made. Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and more have solidified success for broadcasters in the noughties, primarily due to the use of phone lines for financial gain. These programmes are adored by the majority of the British public and don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.

John Reith’s ideology of the BBC was “To inform, educate, and entertain” which if you look back on its history it seems to have done. In times of danger programmes such as Eastenders have been groundbreaking and gained popularity and success amongst the nation. The BBC’s License Fee almost serves as a trust between itself and the audience. The fee means there is guaranteed income for the company, and ensures it’s free from commercial pressure. BBC has also had a diverse audience because of this, and accesses many people’s lives through original high quality productions that you may not get from a multi-channel product like Sky. However the multi-channel environment we now live amongst has proved as an asset for the BBC, as they have created their own variety of channels amongst the digital world, such as BBC 2 and 4, both of which exploit the variety the BBC offers.

However even after all this success; I do argue that British Broadcasting is threatened in some form. The Broadcasting Act did indeed unveil new opportunities but experts say this was the “dumbing down” of TV. It is dependent on what we consider to be good programming. Can we really say the BBC offers us quality programming, or in fact any PSB? This in turn questions the purpose of the license fee, and why it should be paid when the digital television world can cater for all audiences both mass and niche. The Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand prank call to Andrew Sachs on BBC Radio 2 in 2008 was one of the most controversial moments in the BBC’s history. Why should we pay for content like this?

As well as this, New Media Technology serves as a major threat. The accessibility of TV now is effortless; Programmes like 24 display 5 minute “Catch-ups” on mobile phones now, and the invention of Sky Plus now means we can pause, rewind and even record our desired programmes, meaning we can form our own schedule for when we want. PSB’s are in serious competition as their broad coverage cannot conform to all audiences, and the availability of free channels once again challenges the relevance of the license fee of the BBC. Digital TV is now in 87% of all UK homes, and with the digital switchover fast approaching; the future for PSB’s is looking especially grim.

Perhaps the biggest of threats to British Broadcasting is the Internet. The Cyber highway now means we can access virtually everything on our computer, including things associated with TV. Statistics state that UK citizens now spend more time on the Internet than they do watching TV, which is very concerning for the institutions of television.

All these threats are hitting television very fast, but it is nothing that it has not overcome before. PSB’s may be at threat, but people will always trust the license fee of the BBC and the quality programming public services offer. The BBC brand itself is a symbol of England and something everyone feels at comfort and respect with. And above all this it is much cheaper than subscribing to a £60 a month deal with Sky or Virgin Media. And although Sky and Digital TV may be becoming more and more popular, it does mean that people still watch television, and that the existence of this iconic medium still serves a purpose. And as well as this TV is keeping up with the rapid technological advancements and now offers exciting new opportunities for audiences to interact with their boxes in an active way. I personally believe the cultural impacts shall truly determine Television’s future. Programmes like Big Brother, Eastenders, and news stories like the 9/11 terrorist attacks bring the nation together, even in the increasingly fragmented society. Culture does reflect our needs and interests, and we do not know what future culture holds for us. All I believe is that the reflection of our society’s values will be displayed through our televisions, which is why it has been successful and will continue to be for years to come.

Friday, 22 May 2009

How well does the British Broadcasting industry serve the public?

Any aspect of media is formed by a conjunction between audience and institution. Therefore the British Broadcasting industry finds many ways to give satisfaction to the UK public. Of course we have to consider public service broadcasters, whose original ideologies are primarily for the public's benefit the people of the UK. However in recent years it could be argued that these origninal ideologies have been lost. In this essay i shall debate and conclude how well the British Broadcasting industry serves the public.The BBC, the UK's leading broadcaster, was set up to "inform, educate and entertain" the people of the UK, and its illustrious and successful is evident of this. In the past they have ensured that they show quality programming catering for all audiences including minorities. The fact that it runs purely on a license fee funded by the public and not commercial income could instantly clarify their intentions. in it's history this license fee has been questioned, with minister's to one point demanding quality programming or the withdrawal of the universal fund. Programmes such as Eastenders have helped saved the fee, as well as the BBC's original purpose. However the new millenia has been the thorn in the BBC's side, particularly with the release of Digital TV. It's benefits are endless; we can now watch nearly any programme we want, whenever we want. BSkyB, or more recently Sky+ now mean we can create our own schedules, and even pause, rewind and fast forward live T.V. It questions the purpose of PSB's; why should we pay a license fee when we can subscrbe to a Sky or Virgin package with more choice, more for your money and more freedom? This is also evident with the rest of the public, as viewing figures state in the last month 41.6% of people engaged in "other t.v" compared to BBC1's 20.8%. Because of this, BBC has been recently focusing it's purpose on commercial success. Due to the competetive nature of modern broadcasting BBc have had to fight to ensure viewing figures, and this has unfourtanetly diminished the ideologies of the company. As well as this can we really claim that that the BBC still serves our needs? the Jonothan Ross/Russel Brand prank calls on Radio 2 really do question the quality of the BBC, and the overall need for PSB's.However, in defence of PSB's, there are some, such as Channel 4, that have gone to extreme extents to excite the public. Channel 4 are renowned for contorversial programming and their anarchy nature. The original owner John Issacs claimed he wanted the channel to "be judged for everything". Its had many positive impacts on television, spanning from documentaries to comedies and multi-cultural programming, it's clear that there was something for everyone. Their playful characteristics have been well recieved for young audiences, dating back to prorgrammes like "The Tube" based on youth culture to modern reality T.V shows like Big Brother, which has piorneered the channel's success in the noughties. It has always taken risks, and as well as this it has reflected the present times through its programming. Saturday Live shown in the 80's had a huge affect on the entertainment scene of the time, and through programmes like Brookside it has reflected the divisions in British society. And although controversies such as Minipops in the 80's, and the Big Brother racist incident involving Jade Goody have spurred absolute hatred for the channel, there is no denying it has always guaranteed excitement for the public. Although it can be argued that like the BBC, that Channel 4 in recent years has stopped taking risks in order to focus more on financial success.After close case studies on these two broadcasters, i believe that in the modern era PSB is becoming more and more irrelevant due to the existance of new technologies and the deterioation of the "Global Village" that T.V used to exist as. No longer do we watch T.V as a family, and the competition for financial success suggests PSB's do not really serve much purpose in the modern age. However it has not stopped them trying, and i think that they have always gone to extents to excite the public, whether that be on the specific guidlines of the BBC (to inform, to entertain) or the excitement Channel 4 presents to us. And i do claim that even recent programmes like Big Brother, have served the public's interests as they are so widely recieved. So as a whole, i conclude that PSB's have served the public brilliantly, and have never stopped exciting, suprising and pleasing the people of the UK. However with the digital switchover fast approaching, and money being the object, i do believe that PSB's will eventually become irrelevant to the public.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

H.W: Identify the challenges faced by PSB in recent years (1990) and consider its position within the current UK broadcasting market

PSB has faced many challenges to succeed in the current UK broadcasting market. Reasons such as existance of new technologies, politicians and the 1990 Broadcasting Act are just a few of the reasons this has happened.
PSB's general requirments are to maintain a high standard and wide range of programming, including topics such as education, and current news and affairs. It must also cater for all tastes and minorities. PSB's are meant to be for the people, which may mean too much focus is on customer satisfaction that finanical success. UK television moved during the Thatcher years from programme-led production to advertising-led production. In turn, this means current producers are much less likely to be supported by management if risky ventures do not show quick results in terms of audience members. PSB broadcasting is in doubt if their ratings become the only factor concerning programme success, as it simply diminishes the purpose of PSB's aim for public benefit. Although during the mid 1990's channels like the BBC and 4 have done well in this area, as they have maintained their audience share whilst ITV have been losing them. However in the long term it could jeopardise the original PSB aims.
Even dating back to the earlier years PSB's, particularly the BBC have struggled to survive the broadcasting market. When Rupert Murdoch planned to expand commercial television, the government questioned the BBC lisence fee, which was a conerstone of its purpose. Ministers argued that unless the corpration produced programmes that everyone watched, they could not expect universal funding. Eastenders, a serious BBC rival to Coronation Street was what met this challenge, and by rivalling ITV without the assistance of commercial funding it maintained its licence fee. However it was once again questioned due to the Jonathan Ross/Russel Brand incident in 2008, when they made a series of prank calls to Andrew Sachs on Radio 2. Not only does this question the fee but it also questions the way the BBC is run, which makes the scandal hugley damaging, and it may have now seriously undermined the case for the licence fee.
We also have to consider the emergence of technologies such as Sky, and Digital programming. Particulary in the noughties, the rise of popularity in Digital TV has been huge, with almost 87.1% of the televised population now having it. The endless variety of channels digital T.V provides means consumers are free to view almost anything they wish, including all minorities, and this does question the purpose of PSB's. Their morales of customer satisfaction are echoed now through digital TV, and a 2009 survey states that 42.6 % of people decide to watch "Other Programming" on their T.V, compared to just 19.4 % for the BBC. Although much popular than any other terrestrial channels its clear Digital TV's proliferation has impacted Public Service Broacasters hugely, and by the time the Digital Switchover happens in 2012, it could be what ends PSB all together.
Even through all this however PSB's still seem to maintain their audience figures, as well as their customer satisfaction. So for now we can guarantee its saftey. However the future does not look bright, and with the switchover fast approaching, and the endless minorities and cultures that now represent our country, PSB's may find it hard to follow its principles that orginally made them; and thats customer satisfaction

Monday, 4 May 2009

Explain how broadcasting in a deregulated Britain offers more or less choice depending on you P.O.V

Deregulation britain has had a huge impact on the amount of "choice" we as an audience get when consuming T.V today. The two regulations the government specifically focused on were editorial and economic regulation, which is basically the content shown on channels, as well as the quantity of channels there can actually be.
It could be argued that the deregulation offers more choice, particularly for mass audiences. The intentions of the government was to create more channels, which of course means more programming for people to view. As well as this the BBC has endless accessibility and not just on T.V. BBC Radio supplies 5 major national stations, all having their own specific purposes, ranging from music, current affairs and sports. Furthermore the supply of BBC World Service means its accessible all the time, and its versatility provides plenty of choice for all audiences. It's clear that there is no shortage in quantity for audiences to choose from, and these services are accessible at any point during the day.
The increase of competition for financial success has increased the motivational drive of the broadcasters, however as their intentions are purely of commercial interest it does not necessarily mean the quality of the channels improve. It particularly impacts the niche channels, who lack the funds to compete with the wealthier channels, and therefore these are going out of business. In turn this does not please the large percentage of alternative audiences who were dedicated to these smaller channels.
I myself do believe the there has been a decrease in quality and taste in these broadcasters because of deregulation. One defining example is the Brand & Ross incident on Radio Two. The prank calls were heard by around 40,000 people, and this is not what these people should have to put up with. The Brand/Ross incident is completley irrelevant and does not interest me at all. The BBC's purpose is to be the broadcaster for the people (hence why we pay for it) and this incident is another example of how the BBC fails to be this any more. I also believe the programming itself is lacking in decency. Soaps like Eastenders, that form themselves on extremist reality situations. Themes such as paedophilia and domestic violence for a faimly viewing programme are completely uneccessary and unsuitable, and something that I personally do not find wrong. Programmes like this almost make a parody of these serious issues.
Another now useless entity is channel 5. The Broadcasting Act in 1990 was how this channel was made, and I myself fail to see its purpose. Most of it's programming consists of old films and poor over-dramatic documentaries. It's audience share percentages speak for itself, reaching only 4.6 percent in 2008. It does not supply any choice, it simply broadcasts what other channels already show, so it really has no purpose.
Another concerning factor is the 2012 switchover, meaning all terrestrial signals shall be gone and replaced by digital signals only. This means that every owner of a T.V in the country must purchase new technology in order to receive these, and this financially is an issue for poorer people. So again there is less variety for these people when the switchover happens. The final negative impact is advertising. Although BBC do not run adverstisments they are still under pressure to compete against the other big channels, which should not be the case as this undermines what the BBC stand for. Its apparent now that BBC are more interested now in their financial gains rather than the satisfaction of its consumers, and for that reason and the stated above i do believe that a deregulated britain has created less choice for us as an audience

Sunday, 26 April 2009


Ofcom's responsibilities are wide-ranging, covering all manner of industries and processes. It has a statutory duty to further the interests of citizens and consumers by promoting competition and protecting consumers from harmful or offensive material. Some of the main areas over which Ofcom presides are licensing, undertaking research, creating codes and policies, addressing complaints and looking into competition. Ofcom has developed a reputation for its tendency to issue a large number of consultations

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


1.6 Sex and Nudity
Similar considerations apply. Much great fiction and drama have been concerned
with love and passion which can shock and disturb. Popular entertainment and
comedy have always relied to some extent on sexual innuendo and suggestive
behaviour but gratuitous offence should be avoided.
Careful consideration should be given to nudity before the watershed but some nudity
may be justifiable in a non-sexual and relevant context.
Representations of sexual intercourse should not occur before the watershed unless
there is a serious educational purpose. Any portrayal of sexual behaviour must be
defensible in context. If included before the watershed it must be appropriately
limited and inexplicit.Sex scenes of a more adult nature, which are more graphic and prolonged, should be limited to much later in the schedule.

1.7 Violence
It is reasonable for television to reflect "real world violence" but it is clear that the portrayal of violence, whether physical, verbal or psychological, can upset, disturb and offend and can be accused of desensitising viewers, of making them unduly fearful or of encouraging imitation. These arelegitimate public concerns requiring careful consideration whenever violence, real or
simulated, is to be shown. The treatment of violence must always be appropriate to
the context, scheduling, channel and audience expectations.

1.8 Respect for Human Dignity and Treatment of Minorities
Viewers have a right to expect that licensed services will reflect their responsibility to
preserve human dignity, as far as possible, in respect of both individuals (see Section
and individuals as members of groups. Individuals should not be exploited
needlessly or caused unnecessary distress, nor should the audience be made to feel
mere voyeurs of others’ distress.In particular, consideration should be given to the treatment of vulnerable minorities, bearing in mind the likely effects of both misrepresentation and under-representation.

1.9 Hypnotism
Care needs to be taken to minimise the risk of hypnosis being induced in susceptible
viewers. In particular, the hypnotist must not be shown performing straight to camera.
Licensees should refer to the Hypnotism Act 1952 (Appendix 4).
1.10 The Occult and ‘Psychic’ Practices
Actual demonstrations of exorcisms and occult practices such as those involving
supposed contact with spirits or the dead, are not acceptable in factual programming
except in the context of a legitimate investigation. They should not, in any case, be
shown before the watershed.Horoscopes, palmistry and similar ‘psychic’ practices are only acceptable where theyare presented as entertainment or are the subject of legitimate investigation. Theyshould not include specific advice to particular contributors or viewers about health or medical matters or about personal finance. They should not be included at times when
large numbers of children are expected to be watching.Fiction programmes containing ‘psychic’ phenomena should not normally bescheduled before the watershed, although a fantasy setting, for example, may justifysuch scheduling.

1.11 Recorded Programmes
Programmes not used immediately should be checked before transmission to ensure
that any content is not rendered tasteless or offensive by intervening events, such as
death, injury or other misfortune.

1.12 Images of Very Brief Duration
1.12(i) General requirements
Section 6(1)(e) of the Broadcasting Act 1990 requires that the ITC do all it can to secure
that 'programmes do not include any technical device which, by using images of very
brief duration or by any other means, exploits the possibility of conveying a message to,
or otherwise influencing the minds of, persons watching the programmes without their
being aware, or fully aware, of what has occurred'.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Reply From Ofcom

To Mr. Jones,

I have considered your feelings regarding the "Padeogeddon" documentary, and would like to take this time to apoligise to you and any others who may have found it offensive in anyway whatsoever.
On the contrary, this parody-style documentary was not intended to offend in anyway, and its purpose was to actually mock the media, and not paedophelia itself. the people responsible for creating the programme have covered many serious issues, (i.e drugs) and their aim is to state how the media seem to take issues and expose them in as much light as possible. Take the Joseph Fritzel case; its maximum media coverage almost suggests its a positive subject, and i would like to ask you if something so serious and wrong should be so advertised. If anything, it should be swept under the carpet.
As well as this, i emphasise that OFCOM technically has no rules to suggest such a programme is not suitable for television. As odd as this sounds it breaks no rules; it was aired after 9pm and has suitable language and content that as a visual experience should not offend.
I completly understand your concerns and have taken them seriously, and i again apoligise for any offence caused, and i shall take it upon myself to see if i can rule out any future broadcasting of these innappropriate programmes.

Yours Sincerely,

Kilroy (Ofcom, Head of Dep)



To whom this may concern,

I am writing in regards to the programme titled "Paedogedden", recently aired on one of your channels, and wish to complain about the ridiculous and indescent content it contained.
Displaying such a serious issue in this comical way is disgraceful, and offensive to not only me, but to anyone with children or works with children.
I found the exposure of the young girl's breast particularly discomforting, and if this is meant to be a joke, i suggest you explain that to the millions of people who tune into your programmes, as i am certain their opinions are similar to mine.
I also believe that the celebrities shown in this "documentary" must have been tricked into doing this. Perhaps they should have seen that it wasn't quite normal and questioned their purpose, but any celebrity fully aware of what they were actually doing would be disgraced with themselves and you, and would not have exploited such a sensitive subject.
I believe that you want this to be taken light-hearted and not serious; but you would be wrong. i speak for parents or children who'ce ever experienced at peadophilic incident that this glamorising of criminal behaviour and vunrebale children is disgusting. I urge strongly that you apoligise for what you have done, and perhaps next time you reconsider what you put on T.V.
Whether you have children or not, i think you need to understand what a mistake you have made.

Yours Sincerely,

George Jones


Ofcom creat specific rules and regulations on TV that suit and satisfy the audiences and their morales, ages etc. In brief form, their rules are:

1. Section One: Family Viewing Policy, Offence to Good Taste and Decency, Portrayal of Violence and Respect for Human Dignity

1.1 General Requirment

Section 6 (1) Requires that the ITC does all it can to
secure that every licensed service includes nothing in its programmes which offends
against good taste or decency or is likely to encourage or incite to crime or lead to
disorder or be offensive to public feeling.

Section 7 (1)(a) Requires the ITC create a code as guidance to the suitability of the showing of violence, particularly when children and young people may be expected to be wacthing their prorammes. to ensure freedom from complaints they provide guidance and warnings to ensure the audience are aware of the potential unneccessary material boradcasted in their programmes

1.2 Family Viewing Policy and the Watershed

Material unsuitable for children must not be transmitted at times when large numbers
of children may be expected to be watching.
However the ITC accepts that, even though some children are always likely to be
present in the audience, the likelihood varies according to the time, subject matter and
channel. The ITC's Family Viewing Policy usually reccomends 9pm is the fixed time up to which licensees are responsible for ensuring that nothing is shown that is unsuitable for children. The
earlier in the evening a programme is shown, the greater the care required.
"Children" are classed as up to 15, whereas young persons are considered 16 to 17

1.3 Information, Advice and Warnings

Licensees should consider whether any elements of programming might disturb
viewers, in particular younger children. Appropriate information should be provided
at the start of any programme, or news report, which might disturb younger children. Although these may be inappropriate before the watershed, clear and specific warnings should be
clear and specific warnings should be employed where there is the liklehood that some viewers may find the programme disturbing or offensive

1.4 Feature Films and Other Acquired Material
Where a British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) Classification exists for the
version of a film or programme proposed for transmission, it should be used as a guide
to scheduling. A BBFC video classification, rather than the cinema classification,
should always be the guide where one exists.

1.5 Bad Language
There is no absolute ban on the use of bad language. But many people are offended,
some of them deeply, by the use of bad language, including expletives with a religious
(and not only Christian) association. Offence is most likely if the language is contrary
to audience expectation. Bad language must be defensible in terms of context and
scheduling with warnings where appropriate.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

31.03.09 lesson write up


-Funny; not offensive to younger generation
But older generation may find offensive (40+)
40+=Half license fee payers

-Blown out of proportion; 80 or so complaints when aired, but 20,000 following press coverage

BBC's Ideology

John Reith's dream:
"An independant British broadcaster able to educate inform and entertain the whole nation free from political interference and commercial pressure"
On 29 October 2008, the Director-General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, announced that Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross were suspended, pending the report of an investigation by Tim Davie, director of BBC audio and music. The suspension meant that for the week, Ross would not be appearing on his regular Friday Night with Jonathan Ross television show, Film 2008 with Jonathan Ross, or his Saturday daytime Radio 2 show, and similarly Brand would not be hosting his regular Saturday night Radio 2 show. Thompson called the events a "gross lapse of taste by the performers and the production team" (who had chosen to broadcast the pre-recorded show) that had angered licence payers, and offered a personal and unreserved apology to Andrew Sachs and his family. In an interview, Sachs revealed that he had received and accepted written apologies from Brand and Ross. Brand resigned from the BBC later in the day.

On the evening of 30 October it was announced that Controller of Radio 2 Lesley Douglas had tendered her resignation, which had been accepted. Her resignation letter did not address the question of whether Douglas herself had approved the pre-recorded show for transmission. On the same day, Ross was suspended without pay from all BBC shows for a period of 12 weeks. The Daily Mail estimated that this would result in his losing £1,344,000 in wages. The BBC issued an apology over the incident on 8 November, stating that the telephone calls were "grossly offensive" and a "serious breach of editorial standards". The corporation apologized specifically to Sachs and Baillie, and also to the license fee payer. David Barber, the head of specialist music and compliance at Radio 2, resigned the evening before the formal apology. Like Douglas, he had been aware of the contents of the show, and had sanctioned the segment's broadcast.

Your task is to justify the BBC's punishment of Ross and Brand, to put together a case outlining and supporting the BBC's handling of the incident and to prove that it was in keeping with the corpration values and responsibilities

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Key Issues affecting British TV
New Technology
Fragmented audiences

What will be the key features/factors in ensuring its successor downfall in the future?
Different models of funding and production
Format selling
Transmedia model (sharing production costs across countries)
Use of new technology

What other issues may effect British Broadcasting?
Declining popularity of TV as a medium (?)
Quality of American programming
-more cost effective to buy programmes in than make them
PSB tradition means that there are laws regarding product placement and other elements of output
Contemporary British Broadcasting!

Documentary Notes

-Advertising is biggest media success
-TV vs Internet for advertising
-PSB's finding services for income to meet demands
-Exploit of one TV programme

FORMATS-used again and again, versatile for many programmes

-Who wants to be a millionaire-first programme where it travelled from Atlantic to America
(Gave UK recognition)

-Multi-counrty production HQ
-Brits continue to propel interlectual quality. UK TV success in US


-Rise of fake Tellytubby merchandise
-Piracy of digital content

-Brought advertising in to TV programmes
-Give audience freedom to watch whatever advert, in exchange for free content

Tuesday, 3 March 2009