Broadcasting (Public Services Content) Bill

The Broadcasting (Public Services Content) Bill is a private member's bill that aims to define public service content in public service broadcasting.

Like most private members bills, it is not high on the list of parliamentary priorities, but nevertheless the bill asks some very poignant questions about public service broadcasting and how it will evolve over the next few years

This Bill was presented to Parliament on 5 July 2010.

IT Legislation Checker

Aim of the Bill

The Bill aims to define public service content for the purposes of public service broadcasting. The Bill was presented to Parliament on 5 July 2010. This is known as First Reading and there was no debate on the Bill at this stage. The Bill is a Private Member's Bill.


Christopher Chope MP

Important issues for broadcasting

- What is ‘public service content’ (PSC) in the current multi‐channel, multi‐platform context

- How has delivery of PSC by small‐scale film makers, USG (User Generated Content), not‐for profits and government communications changed the nature of the public services broadcasters (PSB) ‐ do they compete?

- Does more need to be done to ensure the continued carriage of PSC on other platforms away from the traditional broadcasters? More widely, does the definition of what constitutes PSB need to change?

- How would a narrowed definition of PSC as outlined in the Broadcasting (Public Service Content) Bill ‐ comprising impartial, factual and objective news; to inform, educate and entertain children and for content not otherwise provided by the market ‐ affect broadcasters and programming? Is there a case to expand the definition of PSC to deliver cultural, democratic and advantages to the creative economy?

- Would the market deliver PSC without regulatory intervention, as seen in the case of Sky Arts?

- Does the focus on public service content obscure other important aspirations of public service broadcasting such as universal access, encouraging innovative programming, and sustaining UK content?

- Should investment obligations on British production be extended beyond the core PSB channels?

- Has the power of the PSBs over the UK television market had a positive or negative effect on the ability of British broadcasters and production companies to compete internationally?

- With the Channel 3 and 5 licenses up for renewal in 2014, and Ofcom committed to consult in 2011/2012, is there still public value in ITV and Channel 5 remaining Public Service Broadcasters?

- Is commercial delivery of public service content sustainable for broadcasters?

- Post‐switchover, with the airwaves no longer being offered for free, does a new proposition need to be offered to PSBs to retain their status?

- Would ITV and Channel 5 survive as non‐PSB channels?

- More widely, how would their ad revenue and value be affected?

- Will YouView change the game and enable universality without the need of a formal PSC mandate? What impact would ITV and Channel 5 opting out of PSB have on the delivery of public service content?

- Would plurality be affected or would other broadcasters/the market, such as Sky, fill the space without a mandate?

- What challenges will a frozen license fee and additional demands on money announced in the Spending Review ‐ such as funding rural broadband, BBC World Service and S4C ‐ have on delivery of public service content?

Parliamentary Website

Broadcasting (Public Services Content) Bill.


- Broadcasting Act 1990

- Broadcasting Act 1996

- The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2009

- The Audiovisual Media Services (Product Placement) Regulations 2010