Ofcom hires RTE exec, releases annual survey results

The UK broadcast regulator has appointed RTÉ acting director-general Kevin Bakhurst (pictured) as content group director, while Ofcom's annual survey results highlight Netflix's popularity among SVOD services in the UK.
August 4, 2016

UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has appointed RTÉ exec Kevin Bakhurst (pictured) as its new content group director.

The exec, who joined the Irish pubcaster in 2012, most recently served as acting director-general and MD for news and current affairs. He will oversee content and media policy at Ofcom, which regulates quality and standards for about 2,000 television, radio and video-on-demand (VOD) services in the UK.

Prior to boarding RTÉ, Bakhurst served at the BBC, joining as a researcher in 1989 and rising to deputy head for the BBC newsroom, as well as controller of the BBC News channel. He also oversaw BBC TV and radio news and the news website.

Bakhurst is to leave the pubcaster in October, and will report to Ofcom chief executive Sharon White upon joining the regulator soon after.

In other news, Ofcom has released its Communications Market Report for 2016, surveying 2,025 adults and 500 teenagers.

The study found that broadcast TV generated revenues of £13.6 billion (US$17.87 billion) in 2015, partly driven by pay-TV subscription income that swelled to £6.2 billion. Spending on network programs also saw a year-on-year increase of 3% to £6.5 billion.

More than half of UK adults (59%) used a VOD service in 2015, up from 57% the year prior. Weekly viewing of subscription VOD services increased from 18% of UK adults in 2014 to 26% in 2016, and Netflix prevailed as the most popular service.

The SVOD was watched by 23% on a weekly basis, up from 13% in 2014. The service was followed by Amazon Instant Video, which secured 7% of viewers per week, and Now TV with 4%.

Meanwhile, average daily broadcast TV viewing fell by 15 minutes a day among 16 to 24-year-olds – the biggest annual drop for the age group since 2010. Live TV viewing also fell by 5.5 minutes year-on-year, while recorded and catch-up viewing within a week of broadcast increased by 1.3 minutes.

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