One of the world's most powerful TV executives savaged Netflix and Amazon's 'insatiable greed for data-gathering'

GettyCharlotte Moore, the BBC’s director of content.
  • Charlotte Moore, one of the world’s most powerful TV executives, has taken a brutal swipe at Netflix and Amazon.
  • The BBC’s director of content said they have an “insatiable greed for data-gathering” and are motivated by profit, rather than what’s good for audiences.
  • It is the latest swing in a sustained attack from the BBC on America’s big tech companies.

One of the world’s most powerful TV executives has taken aim at Netflix and Amazon.

In a speech on Thursday night, the BBC’s Director of Content Charlotte Moore said the US tech giants have an enormous thirst for data and are motivated by profit, rather than what’s good for audiences.

“So much of what’s driving the rapid change in our industry is about technology, not creativity. The television landscape is increasingly defined by what will deliver the biggest profits for companies, not the best programmes for audiences,” she told an audience in London.

“I worry that the insatiable greed for data-gathering is actually serving the wrong master. That entire businesses are focused on what they can take from audiences, instead of what they can give back.”

It is the most brutal swipe yet in a sustained attack from the BBC on America’s big tech companies. The corporation is worried that the global TV market could be dominated by a small handful of companies, who do not have the same public service remit of the BBC. It wants the government to step in and regulate these firms to level the playing field.

The broadcaster is funded by the British public and has a duty to air TV shows that appeal to audiences of all backgrounds, as well as foster new talent and empower the UK’s £2.7 billion ($US3.6 billion) production sector. Moore is in charge of all the BBC’s TV output, and the shows she commissions travel around the world. Shows like “Blue Planet II,” “Doctor Who,” and “Top Gear.”

Moore argued that while the BBC’s funding for content is shrinking, Amazon and Netflix are growing in power. And she doesn’t think that’s helpful for the British TV industry.

“Netflix’s current budget for programmes is $US8 billion. Amazon’s is $US5 billion. But their investment into new UK programmes is only around £150 million a year. Less than 10% of their catalogues is made up of content produced in the UK,” said Moore, who was delivering the Steve Hewlett Memorial Lecture.

“In a world of incredible, unprecedented choice, the irony is that British audiences may find it harder and harder to choose the stories that matter to them most.”

Netflix declined to comment. The company only uses the data it collects on viewing habits to inform it commissioning decisions. It also has a healthy relationship with the UK’s top broadcasters, coproducing and financing programming. It’s why hit BBC1 drama “Bodyguard” is being beamed to viewers across the world on Netflix.

Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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