In The Frame – March ’19
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In The Frame March ’19

Every month, Frame 25 brings you the latest from the world of broadcast, TV and film.

Streaming / Online / Tech

As Frame 25 wrote on these pages six months ago, Apple has unveiled its much-anticipated OTT service (among other new products) this month. A new Apple TV app will aggregate streaming channels and offer original programming from the company’s new service, Apple TV+. Apple didn’t share the cost of the new OTT service, which will be available from the autumn in more than 100 countries and could reach 1.4 billion devices.

Netflix, meanwhile, has tested a price rise on new customers. “We are testing slightly different prices to better understand how members value Netflix,” a spokesperson said. “Not everyone will see this test and we may never roll out these specific prices beyond this test. Our goal is to ensure that Netflix is always great value for money.”

Netflix was also in the news this month because of its work with the BBFC to create an algorithm to generate age classifications for its entire catalogue of content. The aim is that the technology produces the same quality of age-rating and written guidance as a human film assessor at least 90-plus per cent of the time.

Another major player in the ever-burgeoning OTT market – Canal Plus is the latest company to offer a service – and another business challenging Netflix for a share of that market is WarnerMedia, which is to combine networks such as TNT, TBS and HBO into one division as part of a restructure.

YouTube, however, is reportedly turning away from premium, paid-for drama and scripted comedy to focus on music and gaming.

BBC News

The BBC has published its annual plan for 2019/20. The document explains how the corporation aims to update its strategy for the year ahead, and provides detail on four priorities including improving public perception of its news impartiality.

Lord Hall, the BBC’s director general, said that the corporation must plan for a future in which a large portion of its audience never views its traditional TV channels.

In a speech at the Oxford Media Convention, David Clementi, chairman of the BBC, said that UK media regulation is no longer fit for the modern age. He said “it is vital that we do have regulation that is fit for purpose. That protects citizens and consumers, and creates a level playing field for the industry. I want to argue that effective regulation for the digital age is just as important for the future of the broadcast sector as it is for the social media sector. Not least because of the developing overlap between the two.”

The BBC has pulled its podcasts from Google Podcasts and Assistant because, it says, Google isn’t providing enough audience data. Kieran Clifton, Director, BBC Distribution & Business Development, wrote: “This helps us do a number of things; make more types of programmes we know people like, make our services even more personalised and relevant to people using them, and equally importantly, identify gaps in our commissioning to ensure we’re making something for all audiences. Unfortunately, given the way the Google podcast service operates, we can’t do any of the above.”

And finally...

  • The House of Lords’ Communications Committee is to investigate whether there is a future for public service broadcasting in the context of the rising popularity of video on demand services.
  • This year’s Red Nose Day raised £8 million less than the previous edition, in 2017, following a drop in viewing figures by 600,000 and criticism from Labour MP David Lammy that the event promotes a “white saviour” complex.
  • Tom Hanks is in negotiations to play Elvis Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker in Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Warner Bros. biopic about the singer.
  • Killing Eve, which premiered in the US on BBC America last April before its availability in the UK, has five Bafta nominations for the main awards and nine for Bafta’s Craft Awards. Bafta allowed the nominations despite its ruling that shows must have been broadcast in the UK first. For the full list of nominees, click here. The awards ceremony will be held at the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 12 May.
  • ScreenSkills, the UK industry skills body, has launched the ScreenSkills Mentoring Network, a UK-wide effort which aims to match 3,000 mentoring pairs by 2022.
  • Ofcom has rejected more than 200 complaints claiming that Channel 4’s Michael Jackson documentary, Leaving Neverland, was biased.
  • Channel 4 has announced plans for its new national HQ and creative hubs.

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