In The Frame January '20
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In The Frame January '20

This month's latest news across the industry.

Streaming/Online/Tech

The battle for streaming supremacy, led by Netflix and Amazon, has fuelled a boom in the UK production industry. Official figures published by the BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit reveal the highest spend ever – £1.66 billion – on film and high-end TV production in the UK in 2019.

This investment in shows costing more than £1 million an episode to make represents a 51 per cent rise on 2018, and more than three quarters/£1.3 billion came from foreign companies including the two US streaming giants. In contrast, spending by UK companies on similar productions fell to £371 million.

UK Sport, the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association have announced an initiative to develop an OTT broadcast platform, due to launch after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The collaboration, GB Sport Media, has been in development for nearly two years and has secured more than 2,600 hours of content across 26 sports.

BBC News

The BBC’s news operation will cut 450 jobs and cover fewer stories to try to save £80 million by 2022 and “modernise its newsroom to respond to changing audience needs”. Newsnight, Radio 5 live, the World Service’s English-language output and the Victoria Derbyshire programme will be among the worst-affected stations and shows.

Julian Knight, a former BBC personal finance and consumer affairs reporter and now the MP for Solihull, has become the chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Knight promised to be a “critical friend” to the BBC “as it tries to find a new, sustainable model and role in the years ahead”.

In happier news for the corporation, BBC iPlayer received more than four billion requests to stream programmes for the first time, ending 2019 with a record 4.4 billion requests. The Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special, meanwhile, was watched by an audience of 18.5 million, making it the biggest BBC TV programme outside sporting and national events since records began in 2002.

And the weekly audience for BBC Sounds peaked at a record 2.9 million during the final quarter of 2019, beating the previous record of 2.5 million in the previous quarter.

And finally...

  • Several post-production companies have teamed up with UK Screen Alliance and London South Bank University to launch a one-year apprenticeship scheme.
  • Discovery Networks are battling with professional composers over performance royalties for music used across the broadcaster’s channels. Discovery wants to do “direct licences” or “buyouts” with composers. One musician says: “Within five years this won’t be a job for a professional composer.”
  • Channel 4, which has officially opened its new Creative Hub in Bristol, has been named with Sky among the most inclusive employers in Britain by LGBT equality charity Stonewall.
  • Saudi Arabia has been criticised in a European commission report for its failure to stop BeoutQ, a service that reportedly provides illegal access to prime content including Premier League, La Liga and Serie A football internationally. Frame 25 blogged about BeoutQ this time last year, when the platform was described by Sky as “wholly parasitic rebranding of the Qatar-based beIN pay-TV platform and channels”.
  • Former Tottenham player Jermaine Jenas is reportedly in line to replace Gary Lineker as the presenter of Match of the Day “within two years”.
  • ITV and production company Red Planet Pictures have launched the 2020 Red Planet Prize, a bi-annual competition that looks for emerging writers to submit drama scripts to a panel of experts. Submissions can be made online between 27 March and 3 April 2020.

From the latest news to the latest positions – click here to see Frame 25’s most recent additions to its list of available TV jobs