The BBC’s chief content officer, Charlotte Moore, tackled a number of subjects at the Edinburgh TV Festival including the potential privatization of Channel 4, doing more for freelancers to report harassment and bullying, and improving diversity.
“I think it’s in the interests of every British creative to want public service broadcasting [PSB] to continue and for there to be really great competition in that market as well,” Moore said regarding the potential privatization of Channel 4.
“I absolutely want to make sure that we have a really strong PSB ecology in this country because I think it’s critical […] and the BBC can’t do it all,” she added. “It’s really important that there is a kind of collaborative process across the industry. It’s good for audiences.”
Speaking shortly after the BBC signed up to a new charter to improve working conditions for freelancers, Moore also re-stated her commitment to ensuring an environment at the BBC where workers are not afraid to speak out about bullying and harassment.
“Freelancers are the lifeblood of our organization, aren’t they, the lifeblood of all of our industry,” said Moore. “So we would be oh such fools if we didn’t make sure they’re being treated exactly the same as any other member of staff.
“I mean if you think how much the #MeToo movement has brought out, and yet every year there’s still more to come,” she continued. “I think we’ve made vast improvements and I like to feel that people feel they really can come to us and they really can come to commissioning and they can call out anybody, any of the people that I work with, but I can still see that people are still fearful.”
Moore also echoed “His Dark Materials” and “Enola Holmes” writer Jack Thorne’s MacTaggart Lecture, in which he said disabled people had been “utterly failed” by the industry. “I think it makes all of us say, ‘We know we’re changing but my God we’ve got to change faster,'” she said of Thorne’s speech.
In terms of the BBC’s strategy, Moore explained, “We’re not commissioning purely for channels anymore. We are commissioning a portfolio strategy,” in order to ensure license-fee payers — including those moving to iPlayer over linear — are catered to, especially as the broadcaster approaches its centenary next year.
Ultimately, however, she was cheerful about the Beeb’s future. “All streamers, or SVODs, would die to have the channel impact that we have and build to reach those audiences on a daily basis,” she said.