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Barclays’ head of media Lorraine Ruckstuhl on what she learnt at the Westminster Media Forum debate on the future of the UK TV sector

Attending the Westminster Media Forum this week, I was fortunate to share with the audience where in the content supply chain Barclays can support production companies through innovative financing solutions. Here are my takeaways from the event, held at Over-Seas House in central London on a chilly morning.

1. The question of whether the UK television sector can remain resilient in the global market is one that still ignites positive and negative comments from all sides.

Competition from global players both in production and viewing platforms remain at the forefront of these discussions but this can also offer the UK TV market a wealth of opportunity.

2. British TV remains distinctive and there is support for production companies throughout the country. Longer-term productions and returning series in the regions bring greater security to regional producers.

It also gives them the financial stability to support a larger workforce, meaning when the offer of another programme becomes available, they can accommodate this request and build their business.

3. UK studios are still dependant on international clients, as are UK production companies. UK content is famed globally for its quality through shows like The Crown and therefore must ensure the FAANGs (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) invest heavily in domestic productions with British producers.

4. Traditional TV revenues are still solid, but digital revenues are in double-digit growth at the moment. There’s no doubt that the growth of the SVoDs has been felt by traditional broadcasters with almost half of the population subscribing to at least one platform.

This does however, present opportunities for partnerships to develop between broadcasters, producers and the platform providers.

5. Globalisation of the TV industry is fundamentally a good thing for consumers, offering them access to an unparalleled amount of content. The new world offers the monetisation of a global audience, especially to niche content owners who would have previously struggled to gain global recognition for their productions.

6. The millennials and Generation Zs are inevitably contributing globally to how broadcasters and producers create and share content. Access to more archived content, complete-series box-sets, and availability extensions are now an assumed requirement, not to mention a simple-to-use interface being fundamental and at its heart.

That said, most people still watch a TV screen in form or the other. So, while the increased competition from SVoDs is a worry, it has little difference from what linear has had to face with the rise of the multi-channels historically.

It is, undoubtedly, however still a good time to be watching and making TV in this country.

Lorraine Ruckstuhl is head of media at Barclays Corporate Banking