With the publication of the Media Bill (expected to include details of the sale of Channel 4) seemingly delayed to at least after the recess (September), privatisation appears to now be on ice.

2021 was another demonstration of Channel 4’s resilience—showing record-breaking revenues, high content spend and encouraging rates of digital transition—setting a credible platform upon which the broadcaster's PSB credentials can be placed.

Some queries remain: Channel 4’s main viewing drivers are ageing, with fewer new shows being commissioned to replace them. Online engagement isn’t a substitute  for declining linear viewing, while digital advertising growth may get harder with more players, such as ITV and the streamers, entering the space in earnest.

On 12 May 2022, Enders Analysis co-hosted the annual Media and Telecoms 2022 & Beyond Conference with Deloitte, sponsored by Barclays, Financial Times, Meta, and Deloitte Legal

With up to 500 attendees and over 40 speakers from the TMT sector, including leading executives, policy leaders, and industry experts, the conference focused on regulation, infrastructure, and how new technologies will impact the future of the industry

These are edited transcripts of Sessions 1-3 covering: regulation and legislation, PSB renewal, and clarity in the age of non-linear transmission. Videos of the presentations are also available on the conference website

The UK's cultural industries remain the strongest in Europe and digital distribution is a strong vector for the globalisation of British culture

The international reach and reputation of UK news providers is unparalleled, with the BBC, the largest news provider globally, reaching half a billion users weekly

Independent commissioning drives a dynamic ecosystem of TV exports with global clout—worth an estimated £3.4 billion—that remains stable despite Brexit

This report is free to access.

The Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at COP26 sets out national pledges to achieve net zero and contain global warming to 1.8°C above its pre-industrial levels— COP27 will buttress pledges, now at risk from the energy crisis, and advance some nations to 2030.

The TMT sector is a leader on net zero in the private sector. Companies that measure their end-to-end carbon footprint throughout their supply chain—as many do in the UK’s TMT sector—can target their GHG emissions.

The TMT sector underpins the UK’s vibrant digital economy that enables hybrid work-from-home (WFH), which reduces fossil fuel use thus heading off both the energy crisis and the climate crisis.

The EU’s GDPR enforcers have ruled that IAB Europe’s framework for collecting user consent, a standard used by about 80% of sites on the continent, is in violation of the regulations

This is one of the clearest signs yet that regulation is starting to catch up with Apple and Google’s privacy push, as support for cookies and mobile ad IDs is due to end over the next few years

Publishers must prepare now by treating privacy as a core part of user experience and adopting a reader-first revenue model that also supports advertising in a trusted environment

Broadcast TV viewing resumed its downwards trajectory in 2021, following a pandemic-inflated boost in 2020. The effect has been compounded by streaming services retaining much of their lockdown gains, consolidating their place at the heart of people's viewing habits

Within the shrinking pie of broadcast TV viewing—still c.70% of total TV set use—the PSBs have held relatively steady, whilst Channel 5 has increased both its share and absolute volume of viewing

However, further decline seems inevitable, with the largest components of the programming landscape, namely longstanding formats and the soaps suffering badly since the beginning of the pandemic. We await the effect of various new scheduling strategies

Channel 5 has been a rare recent success story in linear television, growing overall viewing and share while beginning to shake off the perception of being the home of cheaper, exploitative programming, consolidated under the ownership of Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell

The programming shift—most notably in investment in lower-price-point British drama—has been made possible with savings from axing schedule centerpieces Big Brother and soon, Neighbours. However, this will result in continued declines in 16-34 viewing share

The other channel brands of Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS) are in a gradual downswing: My5 is subscale, while Pluto TV makes less sense in the UK than in other markets. We wait with interest as to how upcoming SVOD, Paramount+, will differentiate

The UK mobile operators are increasingly vocal about their concerns regarding the tech giants, namely Apple and Google, encroaching on the mobile connectivity market.

eSIMs enhance the case for the tech giants launching their own MVNOs (such as Google Fi in the US) or, perhaps more realistically and concerningly, becoming gatekeepers to mobile airtime subscriptions.

Many things would need to line up for the tech giants to effect this and the MNOs need to stand as one to ensure that they are not successful. Policy makers should be equally reticent.

There are just under eight million adults in the UK who only have access to free-to-air television, relying on it as a vital source of entertainment, information and company

These viewers watch much more television, and depend heavily upon the diversity and quality of content delivered by the BBC and other public service broadcasters

Without further support for PSB content in all genres, for all audiences, there is a risk of leaving millions of people out of ever-rarer shared cultural conversations, speeding up feedback loops of viewer decline, and losing the core public value in the ecosystem as a whole

The UK net neutrality rules are up for review; as usual, the operators are pressuring for relaxation, and there are strong arguments that the competitiveness of UK telecoms markets make such rules innovation-quashing with no consumer benefit.

The chances of mainstream video content providers producing a windfall for telcos are slim, but there are a host of more intensely commercial content providers which have far greater potential to pay extra money for higher quality content delivery.

Future services such as virtual and augmented reality will stretch even FTTP/5G networks; allowing the telcos to develop custom business models to facilitate their delivery may well speed up the development and implementation of the metaverse in the UK.