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Drake, P., 2020.

A 21st-century gold rush? Video on demand and the global competition for UK television

Output Type:Chapter in a book
Publication:A European Television Fiction Renaissance
Brief Description/Editor(s):Barra, L., Scaglioni, M.
Pagination:pp. 71-85
Number of Works:18

Over the past ten years, the linear broadcast model for UK television has been challenged by streaming content from Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms, both through linear channels' catch-up services and through video-on-demand platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. This chapter assesses the threats and opportunities for the UK TV industry posed by digital platforms and conglomerate "super-indie" and "mega-indie" production companies, disrupting and reconfiguring a previously nationally based broadcasting ecosystem. It analyses the boom in the production of high-end UK TV drama, a "gold rush" partly driven by tax relief introduced by the government in 2013, leading to an inflation in the costs of TV production. It draws on the 2019 House of Lords House of Lords Select Committee on Communications inquiry on the future of public service broadcasting to consider the impact of the rising popularity of VOD services on the industry, and on television viewing. The chapter concludes with questions for future research on the appropriate regulatory framework for broadcasting in the context of OTT platforms, as well as the sustainability of the boom in television drama production.