Cruickshank seeks shake-up of media rules

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The Independent Online
Don Cruickshank, director-general of Oftel, has warned that a radical shake-up of media regulation is urgently needed to allow traditional broadcasters to cash in on the new media revolution.

Speaking at the Royal Television Society's convention in Cambridge, Mr Cruickshank said that there was a risk of limiting investment and innovation from conventional broadcasters unless the regulatory framework for the communications industry was overhauled.

Following demonstrations of new broadcast technology from companies such as BSkyB and Microsoft, Mr Cruickshank said: "Investment [in new media inventions] is coming from different directions and odd sources, such as BT and BSkyB and Microsoft."

The big terrestrial television networks must follow Microsoft's lead and create a strong brand. "Microsoft has within 10 years become so trusted by the consumer that everyone's got to use it," he said. Mr Cruickshank's comments come as the Government prepares a Green Paper on communications regulation. In opposition, Labour mooted the idea of a single media regulator to encompass the Independent Television Commission and Oftel.

However, in a speech at the end of last week, Chris Smith, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said he did not envisage creating, "a simple monolithic regulator for the media, or even for television".