ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall believes that there will be more collaboration between British broadcasters as they look to compete with well-funded SVOD rivals such as Netflix, Amazon and Apple.
McCall said that the UK’s public service broadcasters, including the BBC and Channel 4, will likely work together on data and other major issues affecting the industry. “I think there’s going to be more collaboration between the British broadcasters than there’s ever been because it is a precious ecology and it’s very undervalued by people,” she said, speaking at Deloitte and Enders Analysis’ Media and Telecoms 2018 conference.
This comes as BBC Director General Tony Hall was expected to say this week that British broadcasters should work closely together on digital programming services in order to fight the SVODs. His comments, which were reportedly delayed by a chest infection, were expected to suggest closer collaboration between these broadcasters as they face a “David vs. Goliath” fight against “four, perhaps five, businesses on the West Coast of America”.
However, while the UK broadcasters may work closely together on certain issues, there’s still aggressive competition on the commercial front. McCall warned that she would take on the BBC if she felt it overstepped its place commercially. “I believe that the BBC starts with a lot of money in the bank and is in a very luxurious position and it does a fantastic job as a public service broadcaster. But where I have difficulty, is if it were to ever distort the market because of that ability to start with a very well-funded business and not have the same capital discipline that others have to have. So, when it veers into commercial territory then I will have something to say but in a very un-whingy way.”
In April 2018, the BBC is merging its production division BBC Studios with its international arm BBC Worldwide, creating an organisation with a turnover of around £1.4BN (US$1.9BN), and a major competitor of ITV and its ITV Studios and ITV Studios Global Entertainment businesses. It will be interesting to see whether McCall has anything to say about that following its launch.