Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
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Consultation launched on re-classification of television producers

Consultation launched on re-classification of television producers

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 04 November 2009

A re-classification of the production arms of certain television producers in the nations has been proposed today by Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw. The proposals would classify more television production companies as independent producers, and are designed to help encourage content production throughout the UK.

Independent production companies qualify for quotas requiring the BBC, C4, ITV plc and Five to buy original TV content from independent producers.

The proposed change, set out in the ‘Digital Britain’ report earlier this year, would give production companies which are wholly owned by Channel 3 broadcasters independent status, and enable them to supply content under the quotas.

The BBC, Channel 3 companies, Channel 4, Five and S4C have to ensure at least 25 per cent of the total programming they broadcast is made by independent production companies. Under the current national legislation to qualify as an independent, a producer must not have a shareholding greater than 25 per cent in a broadcaster or be more than 25 per cent owned by a broadcaster.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Ben Bradshaw said:

"Television production spread across the nations and regions of the UK is good for viewers, good for regional economies and good for cultural diversity.

"One of the key ambitions of our ‘Digital Britain’ report is to ensure high quality public service content from multiple providers on multiple platforms. Re-classifying television producers in the nations will encourage more independent production and help support the industry in the long term.

"I recognise there are differing views on this proposal and I’m keen to make sure we hear from all those working within the television and production sectors."

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and closes on 2 February.

Notes to editors

1. The consultation paper can be found at http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/consultations/default.aspx
2. More information about Digital Britain can be found at http://www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/broadcasting/5631.aspx
3. The principle of having a geographically broad production base is set out in the Communications Act 2003.
4. The re-classification proposed could be achieved through a revocation and replacement of the Broadcasting (Independent Productions) Order 1991.

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