Why Protect Broadcast Services?
We need a commitment from Government to ensure broadcast TV and radio will be available to everyone until 2040 and beyond
Broadcast TV and radio provide critical services to millions of people across the UK
Tens of millions of people across the country rely on digital terrestrial television (commonly known as Freeview) and broadcast radio (DAB, DAB+ or AM/FM).
Free-to-air broadcast TV and radio ensures that news, sport, and entertainment is available to everyone. You do not need a superfast broadband connection or to pay expensive monthly subscriptions to access these services. They are critical national assets that bring us together through shared experiences like the Coronation, Glastonbury, and the Lionesses Euro 2022 win.
Broadcast TV and radio are important to people of all ages and backgrounds. Research from Ipsos found that 73% of adults in Great Britain believe that the continued provision of free-to-view broadcast TV is important if not essential, while 84% said the same about broadcast radio.
People widely recognise the importance of these services to keeping informed, accessing entertainment, and helping people to connect with their community.
While many value broadcast services, they are essential for the most vulnerable in our communities. Broadcast TV and radio are lifelines for lower income households, older audiences, and those in rural and remote locations, who without these services would be at risk of being left behind with limited access to TV and radio.
Broadcast TV and radio are important services now and will continue to play a crucial role in the UK into the long-term.
There is currently no certainty that broadcast TV and radio will be delivered past the early 2030s
Current Government policy means broadcast TV and radio services are only guaranteed until the early 2030s.
There is a live debate about the future of TV and radio in the UK. At the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC23), to be held in Dubai in November 2023, important decisions will be made about the use of radio frequencies, known as spectrum, which currently deliver broadcast TV. The UK will be represented at WRC23 by Ofcom, the communications regulator. It is vital that they go to Dubai ready to defend the spectrum allocation that broadcast services need.
The BBC’s Director General, Tim Davie, has called for a move away from broadcast services, arguing that “a switch off of broadcast will and should happen over time, and we should be active in planning for it.”
Further, Ofcom is undertaking a review of the UK TV distribution market. This review, which is to be completed by 2025, will influence the future of broadcast TV in the UK.
People across the UK will continue to value and depend on broadcast services through to 2040 and beyond. It is important that the Government make a commitment to ensuring these services continue to be available to everyone in the long-term.
Broadcast 2040+ has commissioned several research projects to highlight the value of broadcast services to people’s daily lives, including:
Ipsos Mori, 2022, The importance of Digital Terrestrial Television and Broadcast Radio
This representative study of Great Britain explored the importance of broadcast services and how people would react to losing them.
90% of adults in Great Britain believe these services should be continuously supported
85% believe that government and local MPs should play an active role to support broadcast services
73% of adults viewed the continuation of Freeview delivered through an aerial as important if not essential
Over half (56%) of adults in Great Britain watched Freeview via an aerial in the past year, with 43% choosing to watch weekly.
Strand Partners, 2022, Constituency Polling
This research surveyed over 5,000 people in North and South of England, across 12 constituencies, to understand the importance of Freeview through an aerial to their daily lives.
75% of voters want their MP to actively support continued provision of Freeview through an aerial
72% said the loss of digital terrestrial TV would have significant negative impact on the UK
As the cost of living continues to rise, 8 in 10 people value traditional TV and radio as an affordable form of entertainment for their families.
8 in 10 (83%) see Freeview as important if not essential to their daily lives
Peter Gibson, Conservative MP for Darlington:
“I am concerned about the potential lack of continued terrestrial TV and radio services for my constituents in Darlington. Before these are potentially disconnected we need a much deeper understanding as to who this is going to affect the most and how it will impact vulnerable people in our community.”