In a letter to The Guardian they say players including Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google have turned television from a national to global commercial battle for attention.
“Global technology players have growing influence on what UK audiences discover when they turn on their screens. Increasingly they are becoming the gatekeepers to what we watch, but they have little interest in supporting and reflecting UK culture, in ensuring the news they supply is accurate and impartial or in distributing their operations across the UK.”
The promotion is of concern to the broadcasters because more than 80% of the TV shows people watched through Netflix come through its recommendation system. They also say the Netflix button found on many remote controls is another reminder of the changing market with the streaming service paying for the prominence.
Broadcasters say it is important for them to maintain prominence to enable viewers to find their content – paid for with £2.6 billion of investment.
“We are calling on the government to modernise the rules that help guarantee prominence for PSB linear services and associated on-demand services, such as the BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, STV Player, All 4, My5, and S4C Clic, to ensure they are fit for purpose as viewing habits change. Regardless of where you’re watching, which device you’re watching on, or who provides your television service, you should always be able to easily find PSB services and programmes in the UK.”
The PSBs have included their request for prominence in their response to Ofcom’s consultation on the prominence rules review, which has just closed for submissions.