Memorandum submitted by the Producers
Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT)
I am writing to ask if PACT can give oral evidence
to the Select Committee inquiry on the proposed Communications
Bill. PACT did not have the opportunity to give evidence at the
previous inquiry on the White Paper. We believe the Committee
would benefit from hearing about how the content production sector
can be assisted.
PACT represents the interests of independent
producers for television, feature film, animation and the new
media. The independent sector has been an enormous creative success
and provides some of the UK's best programmes, as illustrated
by the disproportionate number of programme awards they receive
(61 per cent of this year's BAFTAs). It also contributes towards
price and creative competition in content production, which helps
promote both efficiency and quality.
There has been much debate about digital television
and broadband services, but little attention has been paid to
how we can create and sustain a thriving sector that can provide
compelling content for these services. PACT would want to give
evidence on how the Government could assist the UK content production
sector to thrive and become more competitive. We believe such
assistance is necessary if the Government is to achieve the ambition
set out in the White Paper, to "make the UK home to the most
competitive and dynamic media and communications market in the
Many of our members have used their skills in
creating appealing narratives and production management to diversify
into new media production. PACT is currently responsible for the
chairmanship the DTI sponsored Digital Content Forum (DCF). If
called to give evidence we would include the DCF Chairman in our
team, so that the Committee could hear more about how PACT is
working with the DCF to develop its activities.
Next year the independent sector will have been
in existence for 20 years. Despite its creative success the sector
remains unattractive to investors. Most independents are small
under-capitalised businesses that face difficulties in supporting
research and development for new programme ideas. This makes it
difficult for them to compete effectively in the market. We would
like to tell the Select Committee why this is the case, and what
the Government could do to encourage the content production sector.
We would also like the Committee to hear about the many difficulties
that independent producers have encountered in the last few years
with the BBC.
We shall, of course, submit written evidence
and if called to give oral evidence, we would make our written
submission well ahead of the 11 January deadline.
28 November 2001