Saturday, April 21, 2018


The snarky witchfinders of Ofcom have published a grudging provisional ok for the new BBC Scotland tv channel. It's open for further public consultation, with a final decision expected 'later this summer'. Here's the summary - snarky stuff throughout, but particularly in the last para.

The new service proposed by the BBC will deliver public value for audiences: 
We think a new channel for Scotland has the potential to make a valuable contribution to the BBC’s public purposes. The BBC’s proposal will broaden the options available to viewers in Scotland, providing a greater Scottish-focus in its news coverage and delivering more content designed to reflect the lives of people in Scotland. It should also serve to strengthen production in the nation. However, the personal value audiences derive from it will depend on the BBC’s ability to deliver a mix of high quality content.

We think the BBC’s proposal is unlikely to have a substantial crowding out effect on competition: 
We forecast the new channel could achieve a greater share of viewing in Scotland than anticipated by the BBC, broadly double BBC Four’s current Scottish audience. Although this may have some impact on the business decisions made by rivals who lose viewers to the new service, our analysis suggests that there is unlikely to be a step-change in the incentives of broadcasters to innovate or invest in new content for Scotland.

As it stands, the wider market effects of the BBC’s proposal are unlikely to be large: 
To support its channel launch, the BBC plans to increase its news capacity in Scotland. A significantly expanded online offering could have a potentially adverse impact on commercial news providers. However, the limited scope of the BBC’s online plans set out in its proposal and the relatively flexible talent pool from which it will recruit mean there is unlikely to be a significant adverse effect on competition.

Our provisional determination is the BBC should be permitted to launch the service as notified: Taking all factors into account, we think the public value offered by the proposal as submitted by the BBC to Ofcom would justify any adverse effects on fair and effective competition it may cause.

The BBC’s processes, however, must evolve and become more transparent: 
We are satisfied the BBC undertook appropriate procedures during its public interest test. However, in future, we will expect the BBC to examine potentially negative effects on public value, such as its decision to end Scotland-only programming on BBC Two, much more explicitly. To ensure third parties retain confidence in the regulatory structures, we will also expect the BBC to publish its market impact assessments and engage more openly.


  1. Maybe this new channel will end the cottage industry of time-shifting BBC network programmes in Scotland which has gone on since the invention of Ampex quad VTR. Or maybe Scotland got an RCA TR22 like other Beeb outposts.

  2. Ofcom seeks to scrap local TV roll-out


Other people who read this.......