What should the new government deliver for the media industry?

What should the new government deliver for the media industry?

From the potential privatisation of Channel 4 to future HFSS advertising regulation and the Online Safety Bill, the new government has a lot on its plate that could massively impact the media industry and how it works.

As the Conservative Party announces Liz Truss as its new leader today, The Media Leader speaks to industry stakeholders about what they want the newly appointed government to deliver for media.

Phil Smith, director general at ISBA 

“First, drop the Channel 4 privatisation. Engage closely with us to bring clarity on the Online Safety Bill. Work with us on data law reform, and on the future architecture of advertising — from digital competition, to the next steps in the mammoth Online Advertising Programme.

“We will always work with all parties to meet the big social and economic challenges we face. Advertising is well placed to drive the future growth of the British economy — essential if we are to tame inflation and tackle the cost of living crisis. But we need to be partners in that endeavour. We call on the new Government to open its ears and doors to dialogue.

“Finally DCMS should be treated as the economic department that it is, on a par with Treasury/BEIS. DCMS is responsible for swathes of the economy and for sectors which are GDP multipliers — including advertising & marketing, which is an essential driver of growth.”

Nick Manning, The Media Leader columnist, co-founder of Manning Gottlieb OMD and former CSO at Ebiquity 

“Firstly, the Government should pause its privatisation of Channel 4. It should review the broadcasting industry in its entirety rather than take a piecemeal approach.

“Public Service Broadcasting is essential to one of the world’s leading media eco-systems, and the Government should aim to protect it against the rampant commercialism seen elsewhere.

“The BBC should be funded properly in order to maintain its flagship status and ability to attract and retain talent, and Channel 4 should not be privatised as this would lead to a loss of diversity in programming.

“Advertising is a substantial driver of business growth and it will need to work harder to achieve this as disposable income declines. This is not a good time to make significant change to a hugely successful media industry that the public loves and advertisers benefit from.

“Secondly, the Government should ensure that Ofcom reinforces its control over the creeping infringements of balance in current affairs output, as recently demonstrated by the lurch to extreme positions taken by GB News. We have seen what poor regulation does in the water and energy sectors.

“While it is unlikely that the new Prime Minister will take a position on media that alienates the crustier Conservative membership, we should at least hope that nothing significant will change before the next General Election.”

Jon Mew, CEO, IAB UK

“While we have a change in leadership at No.10, I’m not anticipating a change in the level of regulatory scrutiny that digital advertising is under.

“Given this, I want to see the new Government deliver a willingness to constructively work with our industry to make sure that any legislative changes made are proportionate, rooted in evidence and genuinely effective.

“This is only possible if policymakers draw on the expertise of our members and commit to creating workable solutions that recognise and support existing self-regulatory frameworks. Every single one of us benefits from having an ad-funded, free-to-use internet and it’s crucial that the economic viability of this model isn’t undermined by blunt legislation.”

Sabrina Clarke, The Media Leader columnist and managing partner of Build Global

“The Conservative leadership can deliver three things for the Media Industry.

“First, offer tax efficiencies to make doing business easier. For example, efficiencies on permits, stamp duty or VAT when setting up or maintaining studios/commercial builds.

“Second, provide tax relief for SMEs that trade under £1m. SMEs bear the brunt of inflation, and the cost of living increases; therefore, relief is crucial.

“Lastly, make the government supply chain accessible for media companies that trade under £500k. Access to opportunities for all media companies will increase cash flow and support a flagging economy.”

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