New-media content to fuel Ofcom effort

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LONDON -- U.K. media watchdog Ofcom has cut the projected costs of its new public service content venture from £350 million ($688.1 million) to between £50 million-£100 million ($98.3 million-$196.7 million), the regulator said Wednesday.

The planned "public service publisher" will focus on creating new-media content rather than conventional television programming, which is more costly.

"At present, production and distribution costs for new-media content are lower than for conventional television," Ofcom said in a statement. "This suggests that the PSP could make a significant impact for an initial budget of £50 million to £100 million."

"Larger-scale, more ambitious proposals could be made as digital media enters the mainstream, as expected, later this decade," the regulator concluded.

Ofcom first floated the idea of a public service publisher three years ago, when a review of public service programming concluded that, without extra funding, high-quality programming would not survive the shift to digital TV.

It is not yet clear whether the financing for the PSP will be taken out of the BBC license fee or supplied directly by the government.
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