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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 September, 2004, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Broadcasters welcome Ofcom report
Charles Allen, ITV chief executive
ITV's Charles Allen says Ofcom is right to want a new funding model
The UK's principal broadcasters have backed a report by media watchdog Ofcom proposing a new public service broadcast network and funding changes.

The BBC said it was pleased Ofcom had stressed the importance of a "strong BBC" to public service broadcasting.

ITV said Ofcom was right to raise the need for a new funding model for UK broadcasting in the digital age.

Channel 4 welcomed the recommendation of more financial support to help it meet its public service remit.

'Vital contribution'

Ofcom said a new multi-media provider was needed to prevent the BBC becoming a near monopoly in public service broadcasting (PSB) after the digital switchover in 2012.

A Channel 4 spokesman said Ofcom had highlighted the "increasingly vital contribution" Channel 4 would make to PSB in the future.

He said: "We also welcome the support for Channel 4's not-for-profit status and the recognition that some additional help may be needed longer-term."

The BBC is determined that what emerges from Charter Review is a strong BBC able to operate independent of government
BBC spokesman

The new network could complement Channel 4 as the "leading force for innovation" within UK television and help it reach new digital platforms, he said.

A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC welcomes Ofcom's endorsement of a strong, independent, fully funded and public service-focused BBC as the cornerstone of public service broadcasting, and its support for a 10-year Charter funded by the licence fee."

He said the BBC agreed it was important to sustain "a plurality" of PSBs.

Ofcom's proposal "inevitably raises complex questions" which would be considered as part of the Charter Review process.

'Valuable role'

"The BBC is determined that what emerges from Charter Review is a strong BBC able to operate independent of government and with a clear and direct line of accountability to licence fee payers," he added.

ITV chief executive Charles Allen said he agreed with Ofcom's support for a strong BBC and with its recognition of ITV's "valuable role" in public service broadcast.

ITV would continue to provide "high quality UK production and national, international and regional news", he said.

Ofcom's proposals would also see Five act as a market-led public service broadcaster by investing more in original productions.

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