The trade body representing TV producers has declared that it is opposed to any plans to re-classify STV as an independent TV producer, eligible for commissions as part of any out-of-London or Scotland-only production quotas.
Says Pact, in a statement, reclassifying STV to gain independent production company status, “would not only damage the Scottish independent sector but result in negligible benefit for the broadcaster”.
It follows a submission by PACT to a consultation by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – on the potential reclassification of production companies owned by Channel 3 licence holders.
Says chief executive, John McVay: “STV have argued that without indie status they are restricted from winning network programme commissions, yet they are already winning commissions from the full range of broadcasters, including all the Public Service Broadcasters. Our research shows that STV has considerable potential for growth without gaining independent status, and the damage to struggling Scottish indies far outweighs the minimal benefits it looks to achieve.”
McVay said that the DCMS’s impact assessment for the review estimated that a change in status would enable STV to generate just an additional £400,000 in network commissions.
“This negligible gain would be at the much greater expense of smaller Scottish indies. Not only would STV be unfairly competing for commissions with those indies, they will be competiting in one of the region’s key genres, factual, a core STV genre and one which makes up over 80 per cent of Scottish indies’ commissions. Changing the status will bring nothing to the region but will damage an already fragile industry.”