Latest Submissions - updated 23 October 2017
Proposed acquisition of SKY by 20th Century Fox - October 2017
This response follows a decision by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to refer the proposed acquisition of Sky by 21st Century Fox to the Competition and Markets Authority on media plurality and broadcasting standards grounds.
In its subimission VLV urges the CMA to put the interests of citizens first in its consideration of the proposed takeover. There are clearly concerns on both these aspects, given the extensive media interests already held in the UK by Fox and associated companies and aspects of the way Fox news has behaved in the US, and we welcomed the Secretary of State’s decision to refer both these aspects to the Competition and Markets Authority.
You can read the full submission here.
BBC consultation on the BBC Complaints Framework - August 2017
VLV generally welcomes the provisions in the draft framework for complaints. Our primary concerns about the framework consultation are related to accessibility, transparency and accountability. VLV considers it essential that the transparency and accountability of the BBC should be maintained under the new governance and regulation model. We do not believe that currently the BBC complaints website is well signposted enough on the BBC homepage.
VLV is also concerned that information about complaints should be available for those who lack digital skills or internet connectivity. This information should be available in print and over the telephone. It should include details of how to make a complaint, what your complaint should include and the other parameters which determine whether a complaint will be considered.
We note that there is no detail in the consultation document about how the BBC will report and publish complaints. VLV would welcome further information in the framework regarding how the BBC will ensure it is accountable and transparent in reporting complaints.
The full submission can be read here.
Ofcom consultation on BBC Operating Licence and Performance Framework - July 2017
We consider that most of the proposals in the new BBC Operating Licence are proportionate, although we are concerned that some of the proposed quotas place too much emphasis on volume rather than quality and this might undermine the BBC’s ability to deliver a range of high quality content for audiences. VLV is concerned by the removal of a number of quotas for radio output because we believe these are important to maintain BBC delivery of its mission and purposes and to maintain BBC distinctiveness.
VLV is concerned that under the new system of regulation and governance there could be a reduction in transparency, accountability, audience consultation and audience engagement. Ofcom’ expertise until now has been engaging with industry stakeholders. It is VLV’s concern that in future consultations on BBC performance it is industry stakeholders who will be most engaged and that licence fee payers will not be aware of Ofcom’s consultations or feel they have the necessary resources or expertise to enable them to respond. VLV continues to engage with Ofcom and the BBC on this issue.
The full submission can be read here.
Ofcom consultation on the co-existence of new services in the 700 MHZ band with digital terrestrial television - July 2017
The evidence, both theoretical and practical, presented in this consultation makes a good case for believing that the remedies for interference caused by mobile data servcies to DTT reception have, so far, largely been effective for networks operating in the 800 MHz band. It is argued that these same remedies will be effective in protecting new broadcast transmissions in the lower frequencies as television reception is now moved further downwards and out of the 700 MHz band where it is currently located. Nonetheless VLV has concerns that those with set-top aerials may be affected by the proposed changes. Additionally the clearance programme to move DTT transmissions out of the 700 MHz band will have some early and adverse effect, unconnected with interference, on some viewers’ experience. This will be caused by the engineering work required to move DTT transmissions and thus require viewers to retune receivers and possibly replace aerials. Viewer support will be essential during this process in addition to that needed later when interference may be expected.
The full submission can be read here
VLV responds to DCMS proposal to move Channel 4 HQ - July 2017
VLV canvassed its members to inform its response to DCMS proposals that Channel 4's HQ should move out of London and that its quotas for the English regions should be raised.
Having considered the options, VLV has opposed moving the Channel 4 HQ out of London but agrees that out of London quotas should be raised to reflect existing delivery of this quota.
VLV believes it is crucial that Channel 4 reflects life in the nations and regions and ensures it does all it can to support the growth of independent production companies from across the UK, so we have encouraged Channel 4 to become more engaged with producers in the nations and regions, possibly by having a greater presence outside London.
The full response can be read here
DCMS Commercial Radio Deregulation Consultation - May 2017
VLV is concerned that many of the DCMS current proposals for Commercial Radio Degulation will reduce listener choice and lead to a reduction in the localness of local radio content.
Local news and information encourage community cohesion and local democratic debate. Commercial local radio is very popular and has a reach far higher than BBC local radio. VLV would not wish any change in regulation to provide an incentive for commercial radio operators to reduce their provision of such content.
VLV agrees that the current format restrictions on the three national analogue services should remain. VLV agrees with the government’s preliminary position that there should still be requirements for national and local commercial radio to provide news and that this should be extended to include essential core information such as traffic and weather services.
VLV would like to see a regulatory solution which ensures that existing requirements for FM/AM stations are carried over to their equivalent services on DAB after switchover. You can read the full submission here
Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry into fake news - March 2017
VLV's evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's inquiry into 'fake' news makes a number of recommendations. These include:
- That Ofcom's work on media literacy should be reinvigorated.
- Funding for news on broadcast platforms should be maintained so that it features more on the ground reporting rather than studio commentary.
- Technology companies need to help address the spreading of fake news and offensive material on social media platforms.
- Fact-checking services should be more prominent.
- There should be greater debate among regulators and broadcasters about how newscasters should manage situations in which opinion is expressed which includes statistics and facts which are unverifiable.
- The committee should explore whether impartiality regulation could become more scientific.
- There should be a debate about whether politicians should have to subscribe to the standards set by the Advertising Standards Authority.
You can read the full submission here
DCMS Consultation on PSB Contestable Fund - February 2017
VLV has responded to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's consultation on proposals for the institution of a contestable fund to support delivery of Public Service Broadcasting content. While we welcome the ambition to support better provision of public service content genres which are in decine, we have concerns about the feasiblity of this pilot. We are especially concerned that if the project continues beyond its pilot phase it should not be funded by licence fee revenue which could undermine the BBC's ability to deliver its mission and purposes. The full submission can be read here
Broadcasting Code Review - February 2017
VLV has responded to Ofcom's Review of the Broadcasting Code which will apply to the BBC from April 3rd 2017 under its new Charter. The full submission can be read here
Ofcom Consultation on due impartiality and accuracy rules - January 2017
VLV has responsed to Ofcom's rules on due impartiality, due accuracy, elections and referendums. The full submission can be read here
VLV Reponse to BBC Trust Assessment of BBC Studios, a proposed commercial service
VLV has responded to the BBC Trust's final consultation. VLV accepts that the model of establishing BBC Studios, while not ideal, is the best available course of action in light of the removal of in-house guarantees in the draft BBC Charter, as long as BBC Studios’ primary focus is to provide public service content for the benefit of licence fee payers.
The full document can be found here
A response to Ofcom's consultation on broadcasting, transmission services
VLV has responsed to the market review that Ofcom have published regarding the broadcasting transmission services. The full document can be read here
A response to Ofcom's consultation on managing the effects of 700 MHZ clearance in PMSE and DTT viewers
VLV is concerned at the continued erosion of DTT spectrum resources and the clear threat to free-to-air television that this latest clearance imposes. The full submission can be read here
A response to the DCMS consultation on a new broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO)
VLV’s primary concern is that public service broadcasting content should be available universally to the UK population. Therefore, we make this submission on understanding that until superfast broadband delivery is guaranteed for every home in the UK and considered robust enough to be able to provide content to the whole population simultaneously, it should remain a priority for Government to ensure that the technology and spectrum required to provide content on free to air television and radio platforms should be guaranteed.
The full response can be read here
A Future for Public Service Television: Content and Platforms in a Digital World
Ensuring the Future of Public Service Television for the benefit of citizens
Many of the arguments which informed the current BBC Charter were developed in Building Public Value, the policy document which the BBC published prior to the last Charter Renewal. The VLV believes that a vision where the benefits to the citizen are core to the mission of public service television is still valid today.
VLV believes that public service television should be universally available, available to all free at the point of use, provide something for everyone, including impartial and accurate news and other high quality content for the benefit of the whole of UK society.
Read the full submission to the Puttnam Enquiry here.
(2 February 2016)
BBC Trust Service Review of the BBC Nations' Radio and News on TV and Online
VLV considers Nations content crucial for benefit of society and democracy across the whole of the UK as the transition inherent in devolution progresses. VLV believes that any proposals to improve delivery of content for audiences in the Nations should focus on television and radio platforms, rather than rely unduly on online provision. VLV believes that BBC proposals to rely more heavily on the internet to deliver its mission undermines the principle of universality which has always underpinned BBC services. Not all regions of the UK have access to superfast broadband and not everyone can afford such provision.
Read the full submission here.
(19 January 2016)
Submissions and responses from 2015
Please see our archive at Previous VLV Consultations