Ofcom today (20thFeb) announced its decision to renew the licences for Channel 3 and 5 for a further 10-year period starting on the first of January 2015.

For Channel 3 this means ITV for England and Wales, STV in Scotland and UTV in Northern Ireland.

There is one change in the geographical areas for which the licence will be issued. On renewal, Ofcom will create a separate licence for Wales for the first time. This means that Wales is separated from England and a new west and south west of England licence will be created.

Recognises the reality of a devolved Wales

Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Wales (ACW) feels that it is an opportune time to re-examine Channel 4’s remit and its meaning.

While Channel 4 attempts to address the portrayal of ethnic and sexual minorities, as well as disabled people, we believe that the concept of ‘a culturally diverse society’ does not adequately demonstrate the need for the Channel to reflect the cultural diversity of all the component countries of the UK.

UK nations' diversity not properly represented in channel's output
Welsh flag

The Ofcom Advisory Committee for Wales has recently submitted a response to the DCMS consultation on media ownership and plurality to provide our views on how we create and maintain a plurality of media voices in Wales and the other nations of the UK.

The devolved nations represent distinct democratic units within the UK, with their own democratic institutions. Therefore, media plurality in news and current affairs plays a vital role in ensuring a well-functioning democratic society in these nations.


Diversity as important as market share
Channel 4 office.jpg

Ofcom is presently consulting on the terms for renewing Channel 4’s licence (see here). Earlier this week, the Advisory Committee for Scotland posted its thoughts on Advice to Ofcom (see here), find below the full submission from the Advisory Committee for England (ACE).

Duration of licence

Channel not fulfilling its public service remit
Channel 4

The Advisory Committee for Scotland (ACS) has responded to Ofcom’s consultation on the renewal of Channel 4’s license.

We make four key points:

First, ACS agrees that Channel 4 needs to have a further period of ten years, to give it reasonable certainty.


More production and better portrayal required

Ofcom has announced new appointments to the Content Board, and among three new appointments are a member of the Advisory Committee for England, Andrew Chitty (ACE),  and a member of the Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland, Andrew Colman (ACNI). The third new appointment is Lesley Mackenzie.

The news release issued by Ofcom is at:

Three new members

We are on the verge of the launch of 19 new local TV services across the UK. One of the challenges is how to squeeze more channels through an already congested infrastructure – networks and transmitters.

It is worth remembering that, although local TV is groundbreaking as far as the Broadcasting landscape is concerned in the UK, the technology is set firmly in the traditional TV domain although I do expect that in the fullness of time, we will see enhanced web based services too.

Behind Multiplexing Terminology

The Advisory Committee for Scotland (ACS) discusses a wide range of questions each year as part of its regular advice to Ofcom.

When Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report (CMR) on Scotland is being compiled, we always comment on the findings before they become public. Now that the CMR for Scotland been published, it’s worth highlighting a few key issues.


Local issues brought into sharp focus

Ofcom’s recently published Communications Market Report for 2013 contains a wealth of detail about the way our social structures and interactions are changing with the rapid advance of mobile technology.  Patterns of leisure that once would have taken years to shift have radically re-aligned in a year.

A corner has been turned

I found Ofcom’s research on the ways in which families are watching more TV together very positive news.

Given the number of TVs in many households, no one would be excused for thinking that everyone must be watching their own TV.

Big screens, high-definition television might be helping to reinvent the living room as a place where the family comes together to share some common purpose. But as their research notes, things are not exactly the same as the 1950s with viewers armed with laptops, smartphones, and tablet computers. What are they doing?

Twitter engages and empowers viewers
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