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.

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

As part of the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee inquiry into the future of BBC funding, Claire Enders gave oral evidence. Here we reproduce her accompanying slides.

The presentation highlights the reliance placed upon the BBC for information during the pandemic, and contextualises the value of the licence fee to consumers alongside the cost of other sources of news and entertainment. It further notes the significant proportion of viewers that lack the means, or do not wish, to pay for any video service beyond the cost of the licence fee.       

While a subscription model has been mooted as an alternative to the licence fee, recent volatility in the market has magnified concerns around the sustainability of the streaming model, and while growing penetration and investment in content by these services remains impressive, there is less certainty around the future plurality and distinctiveness of these platforms, and the related cost to subscribers.

It has been ten years since Netflix launched in the UK, initially riding the growing wave of internet video, but quickly raising viewer expectations of user experience, overall production quality and long-term availability of content—challenging the rest of the industry to keep up

Netflix’s push into original production transitioned streaming from pure catch-up or repositories of old favourites, to a vibrant entertainment option, driving the formation of an SVOD market and providing other content companies with a larger addressable base now familiar with paying for TV

The streamer has deftly navigated the path from insurgent to joining the same establishment that it radically inverted—through considerate industry participation and self-regulation—however further questions will inevitably be asked about the company’s growing influence upon Britain’s cultural fabric

Alongside freezing the licence fee for the next two years, the government made it clear that it believes the fee is no longer the optimal mechanism to fund the BBC, demonstrating a willingness to remove it in 2028

What seems to be the government's preferred replacement, a subscription, is not ideal: there are structural issues that mean it would not be possible to have a service that all could subscribe to without a costly switchover

Furthermore, a subscription would undermine a number of tenets of public service broadcasting, most notably universality, breadth of programming and representing the diversity of Britain—naturally a subscription service would pivot to commercially efficient content that targets its subscribers and those most likely to subscribe

Freezing the price of the licence fee for two years (which will then rise in line with inflation for the following four years) will leave the BBC with a hole to fill: the broadcaster has said that by fiscal 2027 the annual deficit will be c.£285 million

Despite an increased borrowing limit of £750 million, commercial returns will be insufficient to plug the gaps

With 148 regulatory quotas and targets to meet as part of its operating licence, it is likely that the BBC will topslice content and services expenditure, rather than axing content and services wholesale

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

Growth in European content supply may soon reach a tipping point as streamers shift from market grabs to profitability, while resources poured into production from states, consumers and advertisers are declining

The perceived value of long-form video content is dropping as consumers pay smaller amounts for a greater volume of choice, from which they are watching less

However, factors converge to prop up the European independent model: broadcasters’ resilient financing, the public favouring ‘deep’ local fare, talent’s preference for independents, market consolidation and new EU regulation