Written evidence submitted by Samsung Electronics UK

 

House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee Inquiry into the Future of Public Service Broadcasting

 

 

Introduction

 

This document sets out Samsung Electronics UK’s response to the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry into the future of public service broadcasting.

 

Given Samsung’s expertise in this field is centred around the development and manufacture of internet enabled Smart TVs and relevant TV platforms rather than the production of creative content, this submission will respond to only the following points included within the inquiry’s term of reference:

             

 

 

About Samsung

 

Samsung Electronics is a global leader in technology, employing over 300,000 people around the world. We are the top R&D investor among 2,500 global companies, and a pioneer in the development of transformative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and 5G.

 

Samsung has been based in the UK for over thirty years. We regard the UK as one of the most important and dynamic tech economies in the world, owing in large part to the fact that UK consumers are keen early adopters of new and innovative technology; two thirds of British households own a Samsung product and a third have multiple Samsung products.

 

The UK is an important hub for Samsung. As well as our British business, our design centre, R&D functions, product testing and European Headquarters are all based here.  In the last two years, we have made additional significant investments in the UK.  In 2018, we announced that Cambridge would be the venue for one of key AI research centres, the only one of its type in Europe.  Late in 2019, we opened a multi-million-pound tech venue in London, Samsung KX, one of only three such tech venues around the world.  We are also a leader in 5G network equipment in other parts of the world. 

 

Samsung is a market leader in television sales in the United Kingdom and for the past 14 years, has sold the most televisions internationally. In 2008 we launched one of the world’s first Smart TV systems in 2008 and were the first to launch the BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub apps on our system. We remain at the forefront of TV technology, having also launched the world’s first 8K TV in 2018 and subsequently delivering the first live 8K broadcast in 2019 in conjunction with BT Sport.

 

Executive Summary

 

In this submission, Samsung will make the following points:

 

 

Instead of fixed, obligatory prominence of PSBs over others, the focus should be on prioritising easy access to content for the consumer. Samsung is keen to work constructively with all interested parties to help achieve this.

 

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?

 

Prominence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opportunities for Change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 

We believe that the following points and recommendations should be considered by Government and Ofcom when shaping the future of PSBs in the digital age. Fixed obligatory prominence on smart TV interfaces will present profound challenges to Samsung’s operations and we are keen that other avenues, which will be more practical, are explored.

 

Prominence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Certification

By certification, we mean:

Content providers insist they approve and certificate their apps (e.g. BBC iPlayer) before they can be put on our new smart TVs. They approve control over the approval and subsequent availability of their applications/content on mass production products independent on the production cycle of manufacturers. Without their certification, a customer could buy a new TV and the TV content apps they want will not be accessible. 

In our opinion, this is very onerous in comparison to other countries and other content providers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innovation

 

 

Conclusions

 

Samsung would like to reiterate its support for the television sector in the UK, including the PSBs, but believes that its future success can only be guaranteed by working in a collaborative spirit with technology companies to ensure that regulation does not inadvertently lead to restrictions on either industry and fail the consumer, the British licence fee payer. Universality, as outlined by Ofcom in 2004 in its first review of PSBs, is one of the fundamental principles so that most people are able to watch PSB content and that it is widely available.

 

We are of the view that producing dynamic, relevant and popular content will serve the interests of public service broadcasting better in the long-term when compared with any regulatory steps which imposes prominence on manufacturers.

 

We welcome the Committee’s interest in this important issue and stand ready to assist this inquiry going forward.

 

JUNE 2020