Recent posts in my OFCOM Category

June 5, 2009

"It's SunTalk Wot Won It"

During the recent election campaign, the BBC's community areas will have been operating under 'special election rules'. Moderation will have been much tighter than usual when people were talking about politics. Actually, this system has got more relaxed over the years. I remember that one of the most disrupting elements of h2g2 being assimilated by the BBC was during the 2001 election campaign. Then, the community were told that if they wanted to discuss politics, they'd have to leave the...
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April 3, 2009

The PCC turns a deaf ear to complaints about press coverage of Alfie Patten

As a result of my blog post last week about the Alfie Patten case, I found that another related issue cropped up regarding the PCC, and the self-regulation of the British press. I received a comment from 'Pat H', who had written to the PCC to complain about The Mirror's apparent breaching of the initial reporting restrictions. Needless to say, since she is not directly involved in the story, her complaint was, as usual, dismissed out of hand. Just like...
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January 28, 2009

John Redwood's blog response to the Ofcom Public Service Broadcasting review

I rather enjoy John Redwood's blog. As someone who at times, it seems, has held views even his own party thinks are eccentric, he always makes for an entertaining read, and unlike most of our MPs, he seems to have really enthusiastically grasped blogging as a way of getting his view out whilst by-passing the mainstream media machine. I noticed that he was rather unimpressed with Ofcom's vision of the public service broadcasting future: "This week I attended an Ofcom...
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January 22, 2009

Ofcom framing a digital content strategy in a vacuum

My last thoughts on yesterday's Ofcom report. I wanted to do a blog post for tomorrow morning that looked at all the sections of the 127 page Ofcom PDF that dealt with the most important emerging trends involved with Internet delivery of content to an ever more interactive British audience. Below is a table of what I was looking for, and how many references to each concept I found in the 'Putting Viewers First' document. Search termInstances blogs0 blogging0 citizen...
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Are Ofcom's regional news funding proposals an opportunity for the local press?

Thinking further about yesterday's document from Ofcom, it seems to me that the issues around regional public service news provision highlight all the things that are wrong with the current regulatory framework. We are living in a converged media ecosphere. Radio stations, for example, are delivered over FM, DAB, Freeview, Sky and the Internet. Television stations put their news online, and when they do so, are indistinguishable from newspapers, who are now running their own online TV channels. The audience...
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January 21, 2009

'From programming to funding' - Ofcom's PSB documents as word clouds

If it is good enough for Obama's speech, then it must be good enough for Ofcom. Today the UK's broadcasting regulator published the latest output in their seemingly continuous reviews of Public Service Broadcasting. The headlines in the mainstream media will naturally concentrate on three big issues: Should Channel 4 be merged with someone else? Should anyone else get a share of the Licence Fee? Should ITV be able to reduce their regional news output? I thought it might be...
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November 24, 2008

Local online news video - where do we go from here?

With the announcement of the BBC Trust decision not to allow the BBC to go into English ultra-local news journalism, a huge amount of attention has fallen on the existing regional press. On balance, I think it was probably just about right not to allow the BBC to make more video content available in this area at this time, but, claims that this would have lead to a stifling of commercial content and innovation look pretty hollow if you are...
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October 28, 2008

NOW Brand and Ross have f*&$ed up my vow not to rant about newspaper editorial...

So I vowed that when I got back to the UK I wouldn't expend energy on blogging about the editorial side of the media, just the technical side of things. It has taken about two days for me to tear up that pledge because I've got so aggravated about the Brand / Ross / Sachs sex scandal. As far as I can tell from the reports in the press, between the programme being broadcast and the story appearing on the...
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April 26, 2008

Chipwrapper and the Ofcom PSB review

It seems that quite a lot of people I'm connected to via teh interwebz over the last couple of weeks have been slowly making their way through the mountain of documents that Ofcom have issued as part of their second review into Public Service Broadcasting. Martin Moore, whilst praising the PSB blog, has been thoroughly bogged down in the detail: " The wonderful thing about the internet is that OFCOM can publish as much as it likes without worrying about...
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March 12, 2007

Where do you go to complain about spammy Google adverts in the UK

Google AdSense has been a successful product because it manages to act seamlessly as the broker between publisher and advertiser, but one of the problems with Google's contextual advertising is that is open to abuse. Most of the time a judicious bit of common sense can steer you clear of the extreme cases, but on Friday I noticed some AdSense abuse that I was astonished had escaped the Google quality detection net. A post on a friend's blog featured...
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February 7, 2007

OFCOM and the BBC Trust do not appear to have heard of games

If you've carefully read through the documents published in the last weeks by the BBC Trust and OFCOM about the BBC's proposed on demand services and the iPlayer, you'd be forgiven for misunderstanding one large element of the home entertainment landscape in the UK. OFCOM, in particular, look at several major media formats in the UK, and the iPlayer's potential impact on consumption, on secondary rights sales, and on innovation and investment in nascent markets. The BBC Trust for their...
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February 6, 2007

Can we really quantify how much 'free' TV downloads distort the value of the market?

With the release last week of the BBC Trust's provisional findings into the proposed iPlayer on demand service, there has been a lot of focus in the places where I hang out online on the market impact of downloads and piracy. After several attempts over the last few months, I resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to be online long enough to BitTorrent down the Season 2 box sets of 'Lost' and 'Desperate Housewives'. Realising that...
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February 5, 2007

The BBC's definition of "stackable series" in the iPlayer doesn't make commercial sense to me

I mentioned in my previous post about the iPlayer that I found I could not agree with everything that had been said by the BBC Trust in their proposed approval of the BBC's new on demand services, nor with all of OFCOM's submission about the potential market impact of the service. One area where I find the BBC Trust's decision mystifying is on the issue of series stacking. They have decided to divide BBC programming into series which can be...
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February 2, 2007

The BBC iPlayer's odd bookmarking restriction

At the weekend I bumped into an ex-colleague from the BBC at Stansted Airport, and one of the things we chatted about was the iPlayer project that they were working on - so I was even more interested than usual this week when the BBC Trust announced their preliminary findings about the BBC's proposed on demand services. Whilst I can't say I agree with all of the restrictions that are being proposed for the service, nor with the whole of...
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December 20, 2006

Entertaining reactions to BBC Worldwide's P2P move

There has been a lot of entertaining reaction across the web to the announcement that BBC Worldwide will be distributing some shows via the Zudeo service in the USA. On TechCruch, Michael Arrington sparked another U.S. vs U.K. flame war with his (tongue-firmly-in-cheek I'm sure) comment that: Under the agreement, BBC will license a number of television shows to U.S. users, including Red Dwarf, Strange and Invasion Earth, Little Britain, Doctor Who, Fawlty Towers, Coupling, Keeping Up Appearances, League of...
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May 23, 2005

OFCOM advertising (020) 3

I saw on the tube this morning that Ofcom have started an advertising campaign to back-up the roll out of new London phone numbers starting with the digit 3. Perhaps this will help to dispel some of the mainstream media disinformation about the issue of new numbers in London....
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May 21, 2005

London phone numbers change again, according to the Daily Mail

I've written about this before, but yesterday the Daily Mail again reported the inaccurate claim that "London is to have its fourth telephone number shake-up in 14 years" Sean Poulter's article states that: In 2000, London codes were changed again to 0207 for inner and 0208 for outer London. David Edmonds, who was the head of telecoms regulator OFTEL at the time, said this system was 'as future proof as possible' and there would be no need for any more...
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July 14, 2004

London Phone Codes "Change"

Today's print Daily Mail screams that London is getting its umpteenth telephone code in so many years. Using digit graphics in case you don't get the point. As has been admirably pointed out by 2lmc amongst others, the London code hasn't changed - and Ofcom themselves were pretty clear about that being the case. It remains the three digits 020. When the code changed last time it was just that for convenience all the exchange numbers started with a 7...
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OFCOM plan to use the web as their guidance communication channel

I'm starting to plough my way through the consultation document OFCOM have issued about their draft new broadcasting code. I was immediately heartened by one thing that features in the proposed introduction: "To further assist those who work in broadcasting, as well as viewers and listeners who wish to understand broadcasting standards or make a complaint, non-binding guidance to accompany the Code will also be issued by OFCOM on the OFCOM website ( and will be regularly reviewed. Members of...
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