“Lord Carter, whose interim Digital Britain report landed like a damp squib last month, came out in defensive mood at a Nesta discussion on the report yesterday morning. Media execs of all stripes had pinned their hopes on the report as a roadmap for the online future, but Carter’s guarantee of only 2Mbps country-wide broadband fell way short of South Korea’s average 50Mbps. Also on the panel was former Endemol creative director Peter Bazelgette, who criticised the Competition Commission for stifling creativity: “When it comes to things like Kangaroo and Canvas, whatever the competition issues, we must make sure we find ways that those resources are deployed.” He pointed out that, when the government brokered a merger of Lloyds bank and HBOS, competition law was suspended on public interest grounds—so why not in the digital media sector?
Bazalgette also has another broadside for Carter’s final report: why does PSB funding only go to the BBC or Channel 4, when organisations such as the Tate gallery and the Royal Opera House are producing important cultural works? “It’s not about one organisation or even two: in the new era, there are masses of arts organisations producing their own content which they are distributing themselves.” [Patrick Smith reports].