The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Consultations 2021 and Beyond

CMF is facing one of its busiest periods, as it reacts and responds to a variety of public consultations connected with the future of media in the UK and in particular how public service content will be funded and delivered.

Well-armed with ideas generated by the CMF Report: Our Children's Future: Does Public Service Media Matter? and with a clear set of policies going forward, the CMF will respond to each consultation and inquiry in the context of our overall campaign to define, preserve and develop public service content - particularly for children and young people - so that it's fit for purpose in the 21st Century.

This will mean campaigning to preserve what is effective and valuable in the short term, but also developing existing institutions to support innovative new approaches to public service, focusing on funding content rather than delivery, and encouraging multiple platforms to embrace public service content so that a wider (and younger) audience can be reached.

A unique feature of the CMF campaign will be to encourage government and regulators to listen to what young voices are saying, to better understand the shifts in their viewing habits and use this evidence to consider new ways of funding, regulating and delivering public service content - as they the leaders in digital adoption.

The next five years will see major changes in public service media, as Channel 4's ownership, the BBC's funding, the status of ITV and Channel 5 and the future of the Young Audiences Content Fund all come under scrutiny.  So will commercial VoD platforms such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon, as the government considers how to effectively regulate them.

Much of this will be included in the government White Paper on broadcasting due later this year, others will fall under the headings of the periodic reviews of the BBC and the licence fee which lie ahead, leading to the full Charter Review for the BBC before 2027.

 

The Timetable:

 

August 2021

Ofcom - on the Future of Media Plurality. CMF has already responded to this consultation which was mainly concerned with the continued provision of editorially independent and trustworthy news. We stressed the need to consider young people and their lack of connection with traditional news services - and suggested ways in which more, balanced and verifiable news content could find its way onto social media platforms to improve the mix of news content aimed at the young.

 

September 2021

DCMS - consultation on privatising Channel 4. At the same time a House of Lords inquiry seeking written submissions on the same topic. While Channel 4 is doing little to prioritise the younger teen audience, as it promised in license commitments some years ago, privatisation will do little to support Channel 4's public service commitments. So CMF will join the growing chorus of industry voices in opposition to a sell-off.

Ofcom is seeking views on the scope of its periodic review of the BBC and revising BBC regulation, which will take place end of 2021 and into '22.

The Parliamentary DCMS Sub-Committee on Online Harms and Disinformation has launched a new inquiry into the Government’s approach to tackling harmful online content, outlined in its draft Online Safety Bill currently going though Parliament. 

 

October 2021

BFI“Next Up” consultation on the priorities for the next ten years of BFI Lottery Funding. Targeting young people will be our priority.

DCMS - consultation on the regulation of Content Standards on VoD services. The government is considering how to level the regulatory playing field between mainstream VoD services and traditional broadcasters.

 

Q4 2021

The government has announced plans for a broadcasting White Paper in the Autumn - the consultations on Channel 4 and  SVoD regulation will feed into it.  It's expected that decisions about continuing the Young Audiences Content Fund will also feature.

Plus: an expected government White Paper on online gambling and a consultation on online advertising.

 

Looking further ahead: 

  • Ofcom will report on the future of Channel 3 and Channel 5 in 2022.
  • DCMS will review the Information Commissioners Office Age Appropriate Design Code.
  • The government will conduct their mid-Charter review of The BBC in 2023-24.
  • Ofcom will complete its review of public service media by 2024.
  • The end of the current BBC Charter is in 2027.

 

Industry Policy

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)