VLV Autumn Conference 2022

VLV held its Autumn Conference and AGM on Tuesday 22nd November 2022 in central London. VLV’s aim is to represent citizen interests in the debate about broadcasting. 

Following months of political turmoil during which time decisions on the future of Public Service Broadcasting have been put on hold, discussion at the conference focused on key issues which the Government and our broadcasters need to address if Britain’s PSB system is to be supported for the benefit of citizens.

Videos of the conference are available to view below by clicking on the photo of each individual session. 

The first session featured Rhodri Talfan Davies, the BBC’s Director of Nations. Rhodri is responsible for BBC services for the nations and local audiences across Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. This session was chaired by VLV patron Helen Boaden, former BBC Director of Radio and the first female Director of BBC News.  Rhodri and Helen discussed many of the changes which are currently being implemented by the BBC following the announcement of its new strategy this summer. The drive is for the BBC to improve its online and digital services while reducing costs because its current funding settlement will leave it with a significant deficit. 

The second session of the morning was a panel session What citizens need from the Media Bill? Former DCMS Minister Damian Collins MP, Gareth Barr, Director of Policy & Regulation at ITV, Professor Steven Barnett of the University of Westminster and Helen Boaden all set out their views of what the priorities should be for a future Media Act. They agreed that there is an urgent need to update legislation so that regulation is fit for the online streaming age, with prominence guaranteed for public service content. This session was chaired by Tim Suter, former Ofcom board member who oversaw the passage of the 2003 Communications Act while at the DCMS. 

The first session of the afternoon was a panel discussion on How to Fund the BBC. Mark Oliver, Chairman of consultancy O&O, Baroness Bonham Carter, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson in the Lords, Professor Catherine Johnson of the University of Hull and Roger Mosey, former Head of BBC TV News, put forward their views on the best ways to fund the BBC.  There was general agreement that any fee should ideally be progressive so that those who can afford to pay more do so, but the panellists were split between those against subscription and those who were for partial subscription for the BBC after 2028. This session was chaired by Mark Damazer, former Controller of BBC Radio 4 and Radio 7. 

The final session of the conference was broadcaster Roger Bolton in conversation with Richard Ayre, Chair of IMPRESS and former Member of the Ofcom Content Board. Roger reflected on his long career in radio and TV. He now presents his own podcast on the BBC, Beebwatch

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