There’s a fight brewing in British broadcasting, and it’s all centered around the local version of the singing competition show “The Voice.”
The country's largest commercial broadcaster, ITV, is going head to head with its public rival the BBC, arguing that it should be banned from acquiring and airing “derivative” and U.S.-made shows like “The Voice.”
ITV submitted a written statement to Parliament criticizing the BBC for investing in shows it calls “highly popular and often derivative and indistinct.” In other words, ITV contends that BBC’s spending on licensing fees for shows like “The Voice” is a waste of public funds.
The statement coincides with a review of the government-owned BBC by the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
But as with any good show, there’s some underlying drama. The U.K.'s commercial broadcasters have longed chafed at having to compete with a publicly funded competitor in the BBC.
ITV lost a bidding war with BBC for rights to the show back in 2011. It launched “Britain's Got Talent” on the same day as “The Voice” in what many saw as a direct challenge. For now, "The Voice" is set to stay on the BBC -- recent reports show -- despite interest from ITV.
It’s safe to say ITV has a stake in the BBC review.
“There is a far better case for the BBC to be compelled to invest the money it currently spends on acquisitions on original U.K. films,” the statement said. “Such an investment would turbocharge the U.K. film industry.”
The BBC's director of TV fired back.
Better to focus on the creative health of your own schedule than worry about what others are doing...
— Danny Cohen (@DannyCohen) October 29, 2015
The singing competition show will star will.i.am, English singer-songwriters Paloma Faith and Boy George and the Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson in its coming fifth season.
— BBC The Voice UK (@BBCTheVoiceUK) August 14, 2015