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UK pubcasters facing content shortage

UK broadcasters will struggle to fill their schedules for the coming years, worries the head of independent TV production trade body Pact.

According to a Guardian report, the trade body’s boss John McVay believes that despite the growth of audiences during the UK-wide lockdown order, the production shutdown combined with a heavily diminished advertising market have created a gulf in buying power between traditional broadcasters and big-money SVODs like Netflix.

This has meant that while Netflix, Amazon et. al are able to enhance their product offerings, many broadcasters will be forced to find new ways to fill their schedules.

Speaking ahead of a digital Edinburgh television festival, McVay said that streamers “are buying everything,” and that he fears for the country’s broadcasters “unless we can get new, fresh content into the British schedules that is engaging and resonates with our experience of the world we’re living through.”

McVay said that the shortage of content for the foreseeable future has meant that producers “can charge a premium” for finished programmes, a state which has left SVODs in the driving seat.

In spite of this ongoing SVOD dominance, McVay said that 80% of PACT members’ commissions still come from pubcasters.

The country’s largest ad-funded public broadcasters – Channel 4 and ITV – have both seen their income heavily impacted by the pandemic, while the BBC’s difficult financial situation has been well-documented for years.