Obligations on smart TVs, firesticks and set-top boxes to ensure public service broadcasters (PSBs) are prominent on their platforms should be strengthened, according to the UK House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
In its report on the draft Media Bill, the United Kingdom Government Committee also wants to see current obligations on PSBs to provide programming in areas such as religion, international matters and science, retained, Advanced Television has stated, quoting from the government report.
The Committee report follows pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill, which is aimed at ensuring PSBs – the BBC, ITV, STV, Channel 4, S4C and Channel 5 – can thrive in the new world of streaming services, updates their remit and ensures on-demand content is held to the same standard as broadcasts.
The Committee calls for PSBs to be given ‘significant’ rather than ‘appropriate’ prominence in listings and searches for content on connected devices, so that public service content is always carried and easy to find.
On listed events, the Committee backs the measures to ensure sporting occasions such as the FA Cup Final and the Wimbledon Championships are reserved for PSBs only, but calls for the Bill to be used to close a loophole that allows an unregulated streaming service to buy the rights for a listed event and put them behind a paywall.
The report stated: “We consider that the Bill balances the needs of audiences, platforms and broadcasters. We support the introduction of the Bill, subject to the Government reflecting on the recommendations in this report. We recommend that the Government prioritise the Media Bill in the upcoming fourth session of this Parliament.”
The report by the UK Members of Parliament was submitted on September 19, 2023.