Burnham pledges to shelter TV from the internet bully

Image of DCMS by Bryce Edwards

It’s an interesting rumour that could pass as a viral hoax: “Internet will close tonight for cleaning.” “Please wire me your bank details so I can send you $10m.” “Government will regulate web content to help TV.” (Spot the real one.)

Andy Burnham’s plans to “even up” the regulatory imbalance between television and the internet can go one of two ways. Either TV will become more like the unregulated web world. Or the web will become more like the regulated TV world. Or a bit of both.

In fairness, Mr Burnham is all about promoting “innovation, risk taking, and new talent” and, although scant on details, there’s no doubt that the internet is by far the most innovative platform ever invented. But I think we now know Mr Burnham’s views on grubby commercialism like product placement, so we have to assume that plans to “tighten up” the online content will be a less-is-more approach.

If the plan is to restrict content, either through ISP certification or centrally-managed censorship, it feels we’ve heard this somewhere before: clearly recent Olympic trips to Beijing had more of an impact on the DCMS than anyone expected…

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About Morgan Holt

Morgan Holt is senior strategist at Wolff Olins, the global game-changing brand consultancy. He is also chairman of the Branded Content Marketing Association, and a non-executive director of CN Media Group.

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