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BBC Sky has called on the UK government to tackle regulatory red tape that threatens to stifle creative industries ahead of a planned review of TV trends.

In a report ahead of the Royal Television Society’s annual conference in Cambridge on Wednesday, the company warned that “significant” amounts of its resources were being used to meet regulatory requirements. One day a week, Sky’s technology resources are deployed in compliance with regulatory requirements, which comes at “significant cost” to the business, the company said.

Sky called for a new “innovation impact assessment” and asked government departments to clearly consider the impact of new rules on companies’ innovation capabilities.

The Comcast-owned broadcaster said in the report that the UK media and entertainment industry’s ability to innovate was faced with “challenges as businesses are required to deploy significant resources in compliance with regulatory requirements – time and energy that could be better placed elsewhere”.

Sky boss Dana Strong has highlighted the potential for growth in the media and entertainment industry due to international demand for British content, predicting this could boost UK GDP by $10bn by 2033 GBP. The broadcaster estimates demand in the sector will grow by 50% given the disproportionate share of UK content. International markets dominated by British television companies.

Sky, which is due to start production at its new studios in Elstree in 2022, also said the government needed to support studio infrastructure by streamlining the planning process and reconsidering studios’ property tax ratings from the Valuation Office.

“There are currently proposals for the development of 44 new studio spaces across the country, but progress has been slow due to the need to overcome ongoing funding and planning hurdles,” the statement read.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer will also address the video conference to further elaborate on her plans to grow the creative industries by £50bn by 2030 and create a million new jobs in the sector .

But according to details of her speech shared in advance, Fraser will pledge to protect those who rely on free broadcast services as more TV content moves online, saying they will not be affected by the continued disruption of streaming services. Rise up and “fall behind”.

A new project examining future TV trends will begin to help inform long-term policy decisions on whether to extend the current commitment to keep Freeview channels in place until at least 2034.

“This government wants to encourage the industry to continue to embrace innovation and technological development. But we will not take the rug out from the hands of Freeview’s loyal viewers,” Fraser is expected to say. “We hope terrestrial television will remain accessible for the foreseeable future.”


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