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“Class and geography” are public service broadcasters’ most important cards to play in the face of streaming rivals, Ofcom’s chief executive has declared.

Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention, Melanie Dawes said the PSBs’ key point of difference is that they can “make TV and radio about us and our country”.

However, with international streamers gaining ground thanks to their huge spending power, she said it had become “more existential” PSBs than commercial operators to find ways to deliver this remit.

She said the industry must keep trying to find ways of moving on from its primarily London-centric, overly privately-educated, nature.

“Lots of progress has been made on gender, for example, over the past 20 years but more attention is required in areas that are harder to measure such as class and geography,” she said.

Dawes was speaking a week after Ofcom suggested to the government that out-of-London producers could be given qualifying indie status.
Reflecting a dominant theme of trust in her speech, Dawson said improving diversity is “an essential part of retaining trust in our media”.

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