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OfcomWatch

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:Praise where praise is due. Ofcom is required to produce an annual factual and statistical report under the 2003 Communications Act. The Communications Market 2005, is extremely useful, highlighting developments in the electronic communications sector, covering television, radio and telecommunications for the year 2004 and the start of 2005.

The problem is how you interpret data in terms of regulatory policy. Ed Richards, then the regulator ’s senior partner in competition and strategy, used the report ’s findings in a recent speech to the Westminster Media Forum, and sections of it are very interesting. The bombings on 7 July were used to illustrate how people communicated with each other, shared information, found information and followed events.

But one of the problems with Ofcom is that it transfixed by communications technology. People are beginning to wake up to this. Raymond Snoddy, writing in Marketing (25/6/5) was particularly damning about Ofcom ’s Green Paper response and the Statement on Programming for the Nation and Regions where ‘one fallacy and unproven assumption is built upon another ’. He argues the documents propose ‘solutions to problems that do not yet exist and can do great damage as we await the digital nirvana ’.


Ed Richards has now been promoted to chief operating officer in Ofcom, and Kip Meek will be responsible for Ofcom ’s work with European and international decision making bodies. He will play a key role in the revision of the EU Television Without Frontiers Directive.

Ofcom seems to want to play an interventionist role at the national and European levels. It really does need watching!


DATELINE: 25 January, 2010