In The Frame May '21
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In The Frame May '21

This month's latest news across the industry.

Streaming/Online/Tech

The biggest broadcast industry news this month was AT&T’s announcement of a $43 billion deal to spin off its media content division, WarnerMedia, and merge it with Discovery. The new business is intended to form “a new global media superpower to take on streaming services Netflix and Disney+”.

Disney is to close 100 of its cable channels this year as it continues to shift towards streaming.

Amazon is to buy MGM for $8.45 billion. MGM owns a film library with more than 4,000 titles, 17,000 TV shows and the James Bond franchise, which has grossed a total in excess of $7 billion. The much-delayed Bond film No Time To Die is expected to be released through cinemas. MGM’s other assets include Rocky, The Pink Panther and the Epix cable channel.

HBO Max is now a year old. Since it launched, the service reports it has “hit several significant benchmarks, adding 11.1 million HBO/HBO Max subscribers over the past year to surpass 44 million in the US”.

Sky Q has added Kids Quotes to its voice search function after research it commissioned found that more than two thirds of children use phrases from films and shows every day

BBC News

Lord Dyson's report into the circumstances around the 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, published this month, has led to criticism of the corporation from Prince William and Prince Harry, among others.

The report found that the journalist Martin Bashir “succeeded in engineering the meeting that led to the interview” by using “deceitful behaviour”. Tim Davie, the BBC’s director general, said the corporation accepted the report “in full” .

Hugh Grant, Michael Sheen, Steve Coogan and Armando Ianucci are among more than 120 public figures in the campaign group the British Broadcasting Challenge who have signed an open letter attacking the government’s “short-sighted political and financial attacks” on the BBC and are aiming to persuade ministers to stop the government’s financial squeeze on the corporation.

Next year’s review of the BBC charter will be “a very, very significant moment”, the Home Secretary has said.

And finally...

  • The process to appoint the new chairman of Ofcom is to be re-started after an assessment panel unanimously rejected Boris Johnson’s favoured candidate, Paul Dacre.
  • Ofcom is inviting users of British Sign language (BSL) to tell the regulator how often they watch signed programmes, what types of programmes they watch, and what they think of the quality and availability of signed programmes. The survey is open until Thursday 1 July.
  • The culture secretary Oliver Dowden has confirmed that Channel 4 could be sold by the end of the current parliament to “provide a sustainable future for the broadcaster”.
  • Meanwhile, Channel 4 has announced its 4Skills programmes offering career and development opportunities across the nations and regions.
  • IBC has confirmed its 2021 event will run from 3-6 December at the RAI in Amsterdam.
  • Work has started on the two new sound stages and the ancillary workshops at Elstree Studios. Elstree was recently featured as part of Frame 25’s series looking at investment in UK studio space.
  • Elstree and Borehamwood has been chosen as the location of the UK’s second Centre of Screen Excellence, offering creative and technical traineeships for 18- and 19-year-olds looking to establish careers in film and high-end TV.
  • Pinewood Group has launched a Kickstart Scheme, a government-funded initiative to create jobs for 16-to-24-year-olds on Universal Credit. Eight participants will join the studio business on six-month placements.
  • OMA:X Film Studios, a 224,000sq-ft film and TV studio created by Location Collective, is scheduled to open later this year in north London.
  • Openreach has outlined plans to build ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband to at least three million more homes and businesses in some of the nation’s more remote communities.
  • Sports fans will be able to watch the Champions League final on 29 May free of charge at btsport.com/final, on the BT Sport YouTube channel, or via several other platforms.
  • Six Nations Rugby has opened discussions with the BBC and ITV to share broadcast rights for all Six Nations Championships in a multi-year agreement for the UK market.
  • GB News, the news channel which includes Discovery among its backers, has confirmed it is to launch on 13 June.
  • Google is among the new members of the 8K Association (8KA), the cross-industry group dedicated to promoting the growth of the 8K

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