Written evidence submitted by Screen Cornwall

 

SCREEN CORNWALL – INTRODUCTION

Screen Cornwall has been set up to drive the development of the screen industries in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, working with indigenous and incoming film & TV productions, creative digital businesses and freelancers to build a strong and thriving production sector.

The Screen Cornwall team is led by producers with significant film, TV & digital experience, supported by a Steering Board from across commercial, commissioning and creative parts of the industry. Its core funding comes from the Cornwall Council’s Creative & Cultural team and the Local Enterprise Partnership for whom creative & digital are two priorities of the 10 Opportunities for Growth’ identified within Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, with additional income arising from commissioning and talent development work, for example as the local producer for BBC New Creatives.

Partners include Cultivator, a European-funded business support and skills development programme for the creative sector, Cornwall Council’s film licensing team, Cornwall Trade & Investment, Visit Cornwall & Creative England.

Screen Cornwall is leading the development of a Case for Cornish Public Service Media, building on a scoping study commissioned by Cornwall Council in 2019 and a summary report published in March 2020. As the de facto development agency for Cornish film, Screen Cornwall already manages an annual Cornish language short film award FylmK and has recently commissioned a pilot for the first ever Cornish language children’s series Porth.

Cornwall is under represented by the existing public service broadcasters, its culture, language and communities side lined or ignored and despite Cornwall's national minority status and the Cornish language being recognised by the UK government, it is the only national minority and only indigenous language in the UK without its own media service.

In response to this lack of current provision A Case for Cornish Public Service Media is a strategy for creating an original and authentic voice, driving growth, developing skills and improving cultural participation in the region’s creative economy.

With guidance and encouragement from the network of established Celtic minoritised language broadcasters, and in response to favourable aligning trends, it is timely to propose a new model, harnessing technological developments with regenerative, social and environmental principles at its core.

Our concerns and our proposals are directly relevant to the questions and scope of this inquiry.

 

REGULATION: Are the current regulations and obligations placed on PSBs, in return for benefits such as prominence and public funding, proportionate? What (if any regulation) should be introduced for SVoDs and other streaming services?

The prominence of Public Service Media (PSM) providers and their public funding are important and appropriate but should better reflect the nations and regions of the UK. Public funding should support a wide range of voices and cultures ensuring that communities from all corners of the UK see and hear their stories and lives reflected and shared.

The streaming giants with high budget popular dramas has led to an increased dependence on investment from the US and a growing number of co-productions. Chapter 10 of the Puttnam Report (2016) details the ramifications of this, noting that while international collaborations have clear advantages, they tend not to be making 'British stories for British audiences' but instead aim for global appeal.

In a world of changing viewing patterns where viewing has shifted to online streaming on laptops, phones and other devices, particularly amongst younger people, regulation about prominence needs to be extended to include TV delivered via the internet to ensure the full benefit of the PSM public funding.

Driven by consumer viewing convenience, as the global transition to VOD advances through smart TVs and mobile devices, so regulated EPG dominance diminishes. Ofcom’s consultation on ‘Proposed changes to the linear EPG Code and future of the prominence regime’, recognised the challenges of maintaining prominence for PSB content in an online environment, but noted ‘that it is possible to gain prominence for content in an online world’ setting out proposals for ‘the future of the prominence regime’ (Ofcom, 2018). It is across this future digital ecology that prominence for PSM content matters, especially for minoritised languages content and it is to this future that regulation and adequate funding should be strengthened.

It is a recommendation of our Scoping Study that Ofcom amend the Prominence Code to include Cornish language content in line with ‘Nation and area specific channels’ for the prominence of PSB (sic) VoD content and considerations for a future regime.

 

REPRESENTATION: How would representation be protected if changes were made to the PSB model? How would the nations and regions be affected by changes to the PSB model? Is the ‘quota’ system the most efficient way to maintain and improve representation in broadcasting?

PSM should employ the opportunities of the non-linear digital ecology to shape a more representative ‘three-way, multi-platform public sphere’ (as described by Georgina Born in Freedman & Goblet, A Future for Public Service Television) where alongside universal appeal, services and programming are aimed at supporting minorities to speak to the majority and to other minorities (intercultural) and to itself (intracultural).

A PSM model that was changed to incorporate delivery of content over a range of platforms and channels, that supports the creation of and gives prominence to content from under-represented minorities such as the Cornish would be a model that would strengthen all nations and regions and all their communities. Responsive to and reflective of the complex, pluralist identities of British people, such a change to PSM provision would significantly improve representation and diversity.

For the Cornish, this is currently not the case. Providing ‘local’ news and radio within the framework of a SW Region of England, the current public service broadcasting provision from BBC fails to deliver meaningful representation of Cornish language and people placing the BBC in direct contravention of its General Duties (14) Diversity requirements which states ‘The BBC must support the regional and minority languages of the United Kingdom through its output and services and through partnerships with other organisations’ (DCMS, 2016).

Cornwall Council’s submission to the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications regarding: ‘Public service broadcasting in the age of video

on demand’ 2019 makes this statement:

 

The two main public service broadcasters in the UK (BBC and Channel 4) have not evolved to reflect the increasing devolution and federal diversity of the UK. The main focus has been on moving some studio production out of London and to the North of England, but this has so far failed to translate into real devolution and diversification of programming”.

 

The current quota system is inadequate.

 

Language

Cornwall’s national minority status and the Cornish language are recognised by international legal instruments: the European Charter & the Framework Convention, which according to the UK Government’s own words ‘now affords them the same status under the FCPNM as the UK’s other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish’

 

Cornwall Council unanimously adopted the Cornish language plan 2019-2022 outlining the authority’s focus on developing the use of the language in both spoken and written form across Cornwall.

 

Kernewek is a living and growing language with several hundred fluent speakers, and with a wider community of around 10,000 who would like more opportunities to use the language - people with a direct interest in the language, able to speak some Cornish or who are studying the language.

 

Culture

Cornwall has been constructed, from the outside, as a perpetual destination. The Cornish are failed by current media provision, lacking any proper representation.

 

 

The Cornish have:

 

Talent & Creativity

From Cornwall’s culture, arts and heritage investment partnership to its fast-growing tech sector, from a nascent screen industry drawing global attention, to a flourishing community radio and citizen journalism news networks and the multi-arts cross-disciplinary Falmouth University and Launchpad incubation accelerator, as a nodal networked, digital, creative rural economy Cornwall is poised to exploit the opportunity to re-imagine Public Service Media.

 

 

We know from previous arts and cultural events and interventions (e.g. the Man Engine project which saw 150,000 people chanting in Cornish on the streets and a global media reach of over 100 million people) that the world wants to get more Cornish.

 

ACCESSIBILITY: How would changes to the PSB model affect the accessibility of services? How would a wholly internet-based service compare to the current PSB model?

The traditional model of the PSB struggles to deliver meaningfully to a wide range of audiences in the 21st century media universe. The world of media is undergoing rapid change.

 

 

Whilst not suggesting that a new PSB model should be entirely internet based we do think that a PSM for Cornwall could pilot a platform agnostic model, taking content to the audiences in places they inhabit rather than trying to drive audiences to a destination that is not a natural part of their evolving viewing pattern. This is particularly important in reaching and retaining younger audiences. PSM providers need to be agile and adapt quickly to changing trends.

 

Our proposed model for a Cornish PSM would have the following principles - be platform agnostic, with data-aware commissioning, multi-platform distribution and with future-proof technical specifications and action research. It would be a flagship example of Cornwall leading from the edge, demonstrating a progressive, world-leading technological, environmental and socially responsible future PSM model.

 

Our research also suggests modelling the application of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and other technologies in PSM that may have positive impacts on workflows and cost efficiencies throughout the value chain, thus improving the public value proposition, e.g. smart contract chain of title DRM, licence fee and rights and residuals waterfall crypto-payments, smart swarm commissioning.

 

A Cornish PSM presents a viable testing ground for e.g. running a microchain project that could test such ideas.

 

 

IMPACT: What value, if any, do PSBs bring to the UK in terms of economic (local and national), cultural and societal impact?

Economic impact

The formation of a Cornish Public Media Service would drive growth, develop skills and improve cultural participation in the region’s creative economy.

 

Cornwall Council and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership see the creative industries as a major driver for the future success of the region’s economy. The CIoS LEP has made the sector number one in its list of ’10 Opportunities’.

 

A Cornish PSM would have a significant positive economic impact both through direct activity and indirect and induced multipliers, generated through:

 

Impact would not only be in the directly related sectors of media, film and TV, arts, culture and entertainment but also heritage, tourism and hospitality, etc.

 

The existing UK minority language PSMs economic impact estimates:

 

A Cornish PSM would help grow the talent supply chain in the region, e.g. providing routes to employment for the talented graduates from Falmouth University School of Film and Television. It would help retain talent with high quality jobs in a region where much employment, particularly for the young, is seasonal and low paid.

 

Societal impact

By virtue of their remit, PSM are an important public source of unbiased information and diverse political opinions. They are particularly suited to foster pluralism and awareness of diverse opinions, notably by providing different groups in society with an opportunity to receive and impart information, to express themselves and to exchange ideas. They can contribute greatly to the promotion of social cohesion, cultural diversity and pluralist communication accessible to everyone.

 

A Cornish PSM would have a significant impact in place making. Place and cultural identity are recognised as essential to developing strong, confident and resilient communities. This has become even more critical post Brexit with still divided communities and the wide gap in equality between London and the South East and the rest of the UK.

 

Great place-making makes people feel a renewed love, passion and pride for their ‘place’. It draws on the combined assets of heritage, people, buildings and landscape to create places for people to fall in love with. Cultural identity is strongly tied in with a person’s sense of engagement, belonging, understanding and appreciation of their ‘place’.

 

A Cornish PSM would give a voice to the communities of Cornwall, create a shared cultural expression and connections across a dispersed rural community.

 

A Cornish PSM would contribute to the soft power that is generated by the UK’s cultural sector.

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD: What should a PSB look like in a digital age? What services should they provide, and to whom? In what way, and to whom, should they be accountable? Is the term ‘public service broadcasting’ still relevant and, if not, what is a suitable alternative?

The traditional model of the Public Service Broadcaster (PSB) struggles to deliver meaningfully to a wide range of audiences in the 21st century media universe.

 

Audiences (particularly younger audiences) want effortless access to content on-demand, everywhere, across multiple devices and data is key to success.

 

PSM in the 21st century needs to respond to the global issues of climate emergency and rising wealth inequality. It is essential that any new public service intervention be designed with regenerative principles at their heart.

 

Using the EBU generic digital media enterprise value chain model as a foundation, by applying the public service resonant principles of a social foundation and ecological ceiling, described in Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics theory, we can define a PSM Value Chain Doughnut, a 21st century model for regenerative public service media provision, a tool for planning and measuring value and impacts with process flows of people, finance and data from supply chain to user experience.

 

 

This model can be explored further at:

pp 50-54, 4.3. Knowen doos gadon dalvosogeth MGP The PSM value chain doughnut , Ragdres Hwithrans Darlesor Gonis Poblek Kernewek Agwedh Onan – Studhyans Arhwilas Derivas. Cornish Public Service Broadcaster Research Project Phase 1 – Scoping Study Report. Published July 2019. (link at end of submission)

PSB is used to describe provision of ever more complex internet-distributed media functions, delivered by organisations formed previously in more restricted linear broadcasting domains. In our study and in this submission, we move purposefully towards adopting the more apposite Public Service Media (PSM), a term which better describes the collection of services which provide, as described by Georgina Born in A Future for Public Service Television, ‘the core of our future public knowledge ecology’.

In short, no, the term PSB is outmoded and should be replaced with PSM.

 

Our report concludes with a set of recommendations to address underserviced Cornish audiences and to create a vibrant and distinctive new PSM model for the UK. Most urgently recommending that the provision of transitional arrangements be instigated delivering high quality content and serving Cornish speaking audiences:

 

 

Links:

A Case for Cornish Public Service Media (resources page)

https://www.bosena.co.uk/tk

 

A Case for Cornish Public Service Media (short report)

https://0e153685-feed-4c3a-8a39-3c79d4f8424b.filesusr.com/ugd/20cefd_74439e09f980439faa12e91982378bc7.pdf

 

Ragdres Hwithrans Darlesor Gonis Poblek Kernewek Agwedh Onan – Studhyans Arhwilas Derivas. Cornish Public Service Broadcaster Research Project Phase 1 – Scoping Study Report.

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/media/40498119/cornish-public-service-broadcaster-research-project-scoping-study-report-july-2019.pdf