In a speech about the future of content, Lord Tony Hall was due to cite new research from consultants Mediatique, which suggests spending on home-grown British programming is expected to decline by £500m a year over the next decade.
First reported by the Telegraph ahead of his address in Liverpool, Hall was expected to say that the £500m drop equates to more than 20% of spending on British programming.
And even though Netflix is reported to have spent £100m on making The Crown, a drama about the life of the Queen, and Amazon has poured money into The Grand Tour motoring show, these global players are unlikely to make up the shortfall.
“The reality is that their investment decisions are likely to focus increasingly on a narrow range of very expensive, very high-end content – big bankers that they can rely on to have international appeal and attract large, global audiences,” says Lord Hall.
“Even the most generous calculations suggest they are barely likely to make up half of the £500m British content gap over the decade ahead. And a more realistic forecast points to substantially less.”
Furthermore, the migration of viewers to streaming services presents a serious challenge to advertising-based commercial broadcasters, such as ITV, while pay-TV operators like Sky and BT are also coming under pressure.
“We have to face the reality that the British content we value and rely upon is under serious threat,” Lord Hall was expected to say.
Although the top five TV shows of this year are all British-made – One Love Manchester, Broadchurch, Britain’s Got Talent, Sherlock and Strictly – the concern is that this will change as the likes of Netflix and Amazon concentrate on global audiences.
“In the UK we often think of the BBC as a big player, but today the media market is truly global. And in that vast solar system, we are tiny compared to the huge gas giants of the US. And every day they’re getting bigger,” Lord Hall warns.
“That is why we must continue to innovate, back new ideas, and take creative risks. We will never simply compete on money alone. It is why the reinvention of the BBC for the modern age is so important.”
Sourced from Telegraph; additional content by WARC staff