There are reports in the UK that the government is considering banning the BBC from scheduling some of its biggest shows in timeslots that compete with commercial broadcaster ITV.
It follows ITV complaining that Strictly Come Dancing (the original Dancing with the Stars) was pitted against The X Factor -the latter saw its audience drop. BBC’s Call the Midwife ended up broadcasting at the same time as the final episode of ITV’s Downton Abbey and Silent Witness was pitted against ITV’s Broadchurch.
According to reports, culture secretary John Whittingdale is said to be looking at new proposals to prevent the BBC from scheduling shows directly against commercial rivals.
A spokesperson said the Government will be setting out its plan on the BBC Charter in a White Paper in May.
“The Secretary of State has made it clear on a number of occasions that the government cannot and indeed should not, determine either the content or scheduling of programmes,” a spokesperson from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said.
The BBC has since pointed out that an independent report into so-called ‘competitive scheduling’ commissioned by the government concluded there was “little impact” in BBC and ITV putting dramas on at the same time.
While the proposal seems radical, there will be those watching from afar. Media interests in Australia have previously criticised ABC, particularly in its news output, for supposedly impacting commercial interests.
Last week Nine CEO Hugh Marks told a Senate hearing increased competition from public broadcasters was an issue.
“Their budget is significantly higher than ours, so with the amount of content we produce, the analysis we had said we have a 30 per cent more efficient outcome,” he said.
Source: Radio Times