In The Frame - May ’18
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In The Frame - May ’18

Streaming / Online / Tech

Fresh from signing boxing’s biggest-ever deal, Perform Group’s streaming service, DAZN, has bought Canada’s exclusive broadcast rights to show the Champions League, the Europa League, and the UEFA Super Cup. The deal covers three seasons from 2018/19.

Cross-promotion to Amazon shoppers and a host of new series made Prime Video the fastest-growing OTT service in the UK last year, ahead of Netflix. Programmes including The Grand Tour helped subscriptions rise 41 per cent year on year, taking the number of subscribing households to 4.3 million, according to BARB figures. Netflix grew by 25 per cent in the UK during the same period.

Speaking of Netflix, the company has come in for serious criticism this month over the return of the drama, 13 Reasons Why. Experts in mental health have expressed concern that the programme’s second series, about a teenager’s suicide, was released as British pupils and students began sitting GCSE and A-level exams. “It’s well known within children’s services that there’s an increase in completed suicides and suicide attempts during the exam season. This could cause an increase in suicide rates,” Dr Helen Rayner, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said.

Meanwhile, the stock-market value of Netflix has overtaken that of Disney for the first time. Netflix is now the world’s most valuable entertainment company, following a monumental shift by viewers away from cinemas and cable television, and is valued at $153 billion (£114.47 billion).

Remember Project Kangaroo, the video-on-demand service from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 that never got going? After two years of wrangling, the Competition Commission ruled that the project was too much of a threat to competition in the UK video-on-demand market and was blocked, in 2009. Then along came Netflix (2012) and Amazon Prime Video (2014), and now the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are in talks again to create a new streaming service.

BBC News

After nearly two years of talks, a ballot on a major overhaul of BBC staff terms and conditions opened this month, running from 24 May to 11 June. All the unions involved – BECTU, the NUJ and Unite – are recommending the corporation’s staff accept the proposed changes.

A new search tool has been developed to identify BBC archive content for BBC4. Using speech, audio, image and object recognition, plus audience reactions to content that the channel has previously shown, the tool embraces AI and machine learning to identify “gems appropriate to our audience”, BBC4’s channel editor, Cassian Harrison, said.

The BBC’s R&D department has also partnered with Alexandra Palace to create a VR tour of its studios. Produced as part of the BBC’s Civilisations Festival, the tour offers an interactive journey through the former TV studios using archive images, sound and video. It’s available here via the BBC Taster app.

The BBC decisively won the ratings battle against ITV for its coverage of the royal wedding, with nearly four times the number of viewers at the peak. The corporation’s most-watched TV event of the year so far, more than 13 million people tuned in at 1pm to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tour of Windsor for the first time as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

And finally…

  • Discovery is to shut its European broadcasting base in London as it considers its post-Brexit plan.
  • The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain says women have been shut out of top screenwriting jobs for more than 10 years. A new report says that only 16 per cent of working film writers in the UK are female, and only 14 per cent of prime-time TV is female-written.
  • Channel 4 has announced its shortlist of cities and regions to host the broadcaster’s new national HQ and creative hubs. Seven cities have been shortlisted for consideration as a national HQ or creative hub, and a further six have been shortlisted for consideration as a creative hub only.
  • Channel 4 News host Jon Snow has taken a voluntary 25 per cent 'gender pay cut'.
  • Uber and Channel 4 are to create a documentary series following drivers around the UK. Running on Channel 4’s on-demand service All 4, Where to, Britain? will span six five-minute episodes and will be narrated by Dawn French.
  • Sky will broadcast this summer’s Isle of Wight festival in 4K UHD and Dolby Atmos immersive sound.

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