UK regulator Ofcom has outlined proposals for the creation of a digital Public Service Publisher with a budget of around £300m a year, with the suggestion that it could provide on demand services rather than, or in addition to, traditional broadcast and scheduled output.
Ofcom observes that new technologies, such as personal video recorders and broadband, have the potential to transform much of the television market into an increasingly on-demand service.
As technology progresses, Ofcom proposes that the new public service publisher would commission and distribute content on other digital distribution systems such as broadband, networked PVRs, and mobile networks as well as satellite, terrestrial and cable broadcasting.
Existing broadcasters, except the BBC, would be able to bid to provide the service, as would other organisations, to provide plurality and innovation.
Funding could come from a range of possible sources, including tax revenues, an enhanced licence fee and a turnover tax on other broadcasters.
It is proposed that the publisher would act as a content hub, providing around three hours of new high quality content each day, either server based or transmitted on a continuous loop.
A £300 million budget would provide around £200,000 per hour to spend on content.
The new service is the most radical proposal in Ofcom’s second report in its review of public service broadcasting.
The proposals will form part of the ongoing consultation about public service broadcasting that will inform decisions on digital switchover and the review of the BBC Charter.