Public interest set the Terms in the first place. (OK, effective lobbying should get some credit, too.) A public policy perspective can often yield perceptions and insights that do not come up when you look, as most of us do, to the immediate interests of your firm or industry. That is why, back in the 90’s, broadcasters vigorously opposed them.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Terms, Ofcom eventually introduced them in 2002 because, in Britain, the public service broadcasters, collectively, dominated the commissioning of new content. Producers and others also accused them of “warehousing” content, -- that is, starving satellite and cable channels of available content. The result? Producers got ownership of the secondary rights to the content they made for broadcasters (where previously they had ceded rights) and could license it to domestic and overseas players. This made some producers extremely rich and helped to build some very large companies – like Shine, All3Media, and Tinopolis.
|The Courage to Compete, PACT, 1997|
However, things move on.
Now many of those producers have created very large companies, some larger than the broadcasters subject to the Terms.
Moreover, some might argue that the Terms have, in their way, frozen the very situation they were intended to free up. First, they made the traditional public broadcasters the preferred destination for larger producers. Second, they drove a wave of energy and innovation among independents, helping the traditional channels to get access to the best content available and keep their dominant shares.
Now some of the larger independent companies are being bought out by even bigger firms – such as Hollywood studios – controlled from overseas.