A new wave of film and television production companies could emerge in Britain because of the growth of broadband, a Midland MP has predicted.
But unnecessary regulation and European Union bureaucracy could strangle the fledging industry at birth, said Michael Fabricant (Con Lichfield). He has secured a House of Commons debate to express his concerns to Ministers.
Computers hooked up to broadband could show new programmes which were not available on any of the television channels, he said.
The result would be a dramatic growth in the market for niche programmes which were relatively cheap to make and designed to appeal to a specialised audience.
He said: "The potential of broadband networks will not be fully realised if they're used simply as an additional platform for the distribution of traditional television channels, or as an alternative to the video rental shop.
"By coincidence, at the same time as broadband is cutting audiovisual distribution costs, the costs of professional-quality audio-visual production are also falling.
Mr Fabricant added: "It is feasible to anticipate the development of a rich ecosystem of niche content providers serving local communities and minority interests. However, the European Commission plans to regulate all audiovisual services, and that is a matter for concern."