BBC Studios Chief Tim Davie Says “Everyone’s Got Too Much Television To Watch”

Tim Davie

BBC Studios’ CEO Tim Davie has become the latest high-powered British television executive to sound the alarm about audiences being oversupplied with content.

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry conference in London on Monday, Davie talked about the changes to the TV industry in the context of technological advances and the streaming wars.

“The jeopardy’s gone up and the opportunity’s gone up,” he told an audience of business leaders, referring to the likes of Apple and Netflix as “wonderful clients” but also rivals for creative talent.

Unusually for the boss of a £1.4BN content business, however, Davie was not effusive about it being boom time for producers, with tens of billions of dollars swirling around the market for TV shows. Instead, he echoed others in noting the overwhelming choice for consumers.

“It’s hyper-competitive, everyone’s got too much television to watch, even if you’re not a television fan. The market is sated with stuff,” he said, adding that the winners will be services that mix quality of output, personalization and curation.

It follows Alex Mahon, the chief executive of Channel 4, telling a conference earlier this month that audiences are “completely oversupplied” with programming. “We’re overwhelmed by choice,” she said.

At the same conference as Mahon, Veep creator Armando Iannucci predicted that the streaming “bubble is going to burst” because viewers will not be able to keep up. He said: “At some point, someone high-up at these streaming services is going to go: ‘Hang on a minute, are we making too much stuff and shall we shut some of it down?’”

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