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Vertical Integration Led to TV Creativity Deficit

The Guardian reports that Michael Jackson, the former head of Channel 4 turned U.S. media executive, has predicted a leading role for the Internet in plugging a "creative deficit" in American broadcasting.

Jackson said the U.S. TV industry had suffered from the dominance of media conglomerates such as Disney and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, but the sector was entering a new era as the web undermined the advertising-based business model.

A new generation of content makers is emerging, he said, able to screen shows on the web, bypassing Comcast's cable system or DirecTV's satellites. "Broadband will enable content to get around the old aggregators. That to me is the most exciting thing. In the U.S. you cannot launch a TV show without Brian Roberts [chairman of Comcast] or Rupert Murdoch [owner of DirecTV] on your side."

In an interview with the Guardian at the MipTV programme market in Cannes, the former chief executive of Channel 4 said creativity had been stifled by media conglomerates that own broadcast networks as well as producing films and programmes, such as Disney, which owns ABC, or News Corp, owner of Fox.

This was why independent production was not thriving. "In the U.S. TV market there are no American independent producers, so we have ended up with a few vertically integrated players. That has been the single greatest reason behind the success of independent production from outside the U.S. Vertical integration has led to a creative deficit."

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