Jocelyn Hay Lecture 2022

Sir Peter Bazalgette delivered the Jocelyn Hay Lecture 2022 on October 11th at an online event chaired by Professor Jane Martinson. It was his first outing to discuss broadcasting issues after stepping down as Chairman of ITV on September 29th. Sir Peter was Chairman of ITV for just over six years, having previously been an ITV Board Member for 9 years. 

Sir Peter’s speech covered the public service media landscape, highlighting the key challenges it faces  and making a number of recommendations to government (and a few predictions).

He stressed how important it is that the government proceeds with its Media Bill as soon as possible so that public service broadcasters are guaranteed prominence and fair carriage terms on digital platforms, such as the streaming platforms, and on TV and other hardware. He pointed out that until legislation is passed ITV will not be in a position to be able to renew its existing licence which is due to expire in 2024. 

He called for liberalisation of the UK TV advertising market; he suggested that there has to be consolidation among commercial channels if they are to compete with the global streaming giants; he said ITV considers its regional news services to be one of the jewels in its crown; and he said it would be an act of madness to get rid of DTT, whereby UK audiences currently watch TV through a roof top aerial, because of the inherent security risks of the internet. 

He finished by saying that he supported the concept of a universally funded BBC and thought that having a publicly-funded BBC is a “statement of faith in your democratic system”. He supports “hypothecated funding, not for some voluntary subscription” for the BBC saying that “guaranteed public funding for an organisation whose remit is specifically to hold the government to account” as “the most laudable expression of a liberal democracy that I can think of”. He added: “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”.