In The Frame May '20
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In The Frame May '20

This month's latest news across the industry.

Streaming/Online/Tech

More than six million new video streaming subscriptions were purchased across the UK in the three months to April, new research shows. That equates to 21 per cent of British households and while Netflix remains the dominant player in the market, more than half (52 per cent) of those subscriptions were for Disney+, which launched on 24 March. Fifty-six per cent of UK households have at least one SVoD subscription.

First-quarter BARB figures, meanwhile, show that Amazon Prime has enjoyed the fastest year-on-year growth, up by 32 per cent to almost 7.9 million homes. Netflix has grown by 13.4 per cent in the same period, to just over 13 million homes.

The growth and good news is not shared by all in the SVoD market, however. The lack of live sport during the Covid-19 lockdown has left DAZN seeking financial support. The company’s billionaire owner, Len Blavatnik, is reportedly exploring options to raise money.

Elsewhere, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max has launched in the US. It appears there are no plans for a UK launch.

BBC News

The BBC is planning to hold interviews early next month to replace the outgoing director general, Tony Hall, who steps down later this year. A shortlist of four candidates has been drawn up.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, chairman of ITV, says that the coronavirus crisis may have saved the BBC licence fee because the corporation provides regulated, safe, reliable information that social media platforms cannot always match. “The value of the BBC particularly…and the way the nation has relied on it in a crisis, as it has so many times before, will make them [the Conservative party] think again,” Bazalgette said.

The licence fee is discussed in the BBC’s latest annual plan, which was published earlier this month. The plan also says “there is potentially a strong case for restoring BBC Three as a linear channel as well as an online destination”. Hit shows including Fleabag and Normal People have helped to drive the success of BBC Three, which went online-only in February 2016. The release of Normal People boosted BBC Three to its best week ever for programme requests on iPlayer.

The channel’s programme budget is to more than double over the next two years to £80 million, and some fear BBC Four will suffer as a result. Two of the channel’s presenters, Lucy Worsley and Janina Ramirez, for example, are campaigning to save the channel amid rumours that it could close. The average age of BBC Four viewers is 62 but the corporation is keen to attract and keep a younger audience – such as those who watch BBC Three.

The BBC and Pact, the trade association for independent content producers, have announced a new terms-of-trade agreement for BBC TV productions made by independent producers.

And finally...

  • This year’s edition of IBC has been cancelled. A statement released by the organisation’s CEO says it couldn’t guarantee it could deliver a “safe and valuable event”. A number of broadcast tech companies, including Panasonic and Ross Video, had already pulled out.
  • All 92 remaining Premier League games will be broadcast in the UK by the BBC, Sky, BT Sport and Amazon.
  • Several broadcasters and trade bodies have joined forces to create new industry-wide guidelines to enable TV production’s safe return following the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more on how the industry is adapting here.
  • ITV, which furloughed about 800 workers – roughly 15 per cent of its UK workforce – following the coronavirus outbreak, has announced that its advertising revenue last month fell by 42 per cent.
  • The BBC is to mark Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary in June 2020 with the Glastonbury Experience across BBC TV, iPlayer, BBC radio and the Sounds app.
  • An audio library has launched to provide audio clips of mocked-up movies, TV shows and games for use in feature films and TV dramas when characters are looking at screens.

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