New UK to get – yet more – media legislation? -
UK to get – yet more – media legislation?
The British government is reportedly planning a new ‘Digital Economy Bill’, which would abandon the older merger restrictions that cover market dominance in TV, regional newspaper publishing and radio. Andy Burnham, responsible for the Media & Culture ministry, is said to have told broadcasting bosses that a new Bill will happen this coming winter.
The news came on the same day that former ITV and BBC boss Greg Dyke said that the UK’s Channel 5 and commercial network ITV “cannot survive” as standalone broadcasters. Dyke was speaking to financial communications provider Cantos, and said there was an opportunity to build "a big European broadcasting organisation to rival RTL" by combining separate TV entities in a number of countries.
"I don't think individual channels [can] survive long-term,” said Dyke. “So I don't think Five survives long-term. It will be merged in something else. I don't think ITV survives as a separate company long-term...I just think it's unlikely that small players (and ITV is now comparatively a small player) can survive on their own."
The government’s new Bill is also said to incorporate elements of the wider ‘Digital Britain’ review, currently taking place, but widely expected to include the government’s plan for Channel 4. The timetable for any new Bill’s successful introduction is tight, given that a General Election must take place by summer 2010.