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Message started by Maggie on Jan 17th, 2022, 7:27pm

Title: More than a licence
Post by Maggie on Jan 17th, 2022, 7:27pm

Any thoughts on this please, the scrapping of the BBC Licence to Broadcast

Title: Re: More than a licence
Post by Dickie Mint on Jan 18th, 2022, 6:11pm

Yet again funding the BBC with the Licence Fee is under scrutiny. This time, no doubt, to try to deflect from 'partygate'!

There have been many reviews on funding the BBC. And every time no viable alternative is found.

There are many reasons to keep the funding this way and it's effectively been going down for years.  Meanwhile, the commercial TV stations increase their advertising income which also comes out of our pockets.  When you buy something it's usually at least a double hit. The goods and the shop we buy them from both advertise, so we're giving the commercial companies effectively more money than the 43p a day we pay for all that the BBC provides.

And the old 'solution' dragged up yet again by this out of touch minister - subscription. How? To limit access to the BBC for those who haven't paid it you'd need a TV or Set Top Box with a card reader or some form of a dongle. Millions of viewers devices don't have anything.

And this myth being peddled that linear TV has a limited life and we'll all be connected to the internet.  What of those who don't get Broadband or have a too low-speed connection? Or those who don't want the internet or can't afford it?  (Anyone know of a broadband connection costing less than the £13 month cost of the Licence Fee?

Title: Re: More than a licence
Post by Administrator on Jan 19th, 2022, 7:33pm

The Financial Times speaks up for the BBC, in an editorial.
Tuesday January 18, 2022

The future of the BBC needs to be safeguarded.
Broadcaster plays a vital role in U.K. cultural and democratic life

     It is no surprise that a government fighting to save the prime minister’s job has focused its sights on one of its most persistent bugbears. It is a travesty nonetheless that questions over the future funding of the BBC appear to have been wrapped into “Operation Red Meat”, a series of populist announcements aimed at placating restive Tory backbenchers. In a fast-evolving media world, the BBC’s licence fee model should be reviewed in coming years. But this process should be entirely divorced from Boris Johnson’s own political travails.

For all its imperfections, the BBC is an essential pillar of British cultural life, and one of its best-known export brands. The government has itself hailed it as the “most trusted broadcaster worldwide”. It is a mainstay of the UK’s thriving creative arts industry. During school shutdowns in the pandemic, its educational broadcasts have been a lifeline for millions of families.

The rise of “fake news”, moreover, makes the role of quality, impartial public service broadcasting ever more vital. The political polarisation of the US, where commercial owners dominate broadcasting, is a cautionary tale.

     With living costs soaring, the government must protect the less well-off. Yet increasing the £159 licence fee in line with inflation would have added about £10 a year, when energy costs are set to rise by around £700 a year for a typical family — partly due to a series of policy errors. The two-year freeze imposed by culture secretary Nadine Dorries looks at best like window-dressing, and at worst like vindictiveness.

A settlement imposed by chancellor George Osborne in 2015 forced the BBC into a five-year programme aimed at cutting costs by £1bn a year, compared with annual licence fee income of £3.7bn. Most savings until now, the National Audit Office says, came from spending on behind-the-scenes staff and improved productivity, but future savings would need to come from programmes and from a news division that has already faced heavy cuts.

Dorries partially backtracked from a tweet on Sunday suggesting the licence fee would be abolished in 2027, though this may be the government’s real intention. There are, to be sure, mounting reasons to review the system. Parts of what the BBC does can now be done by the commercial sector. Streaming services are proliferating. Young people consume media differently from their parents, and watch the BBC less. After Dorries added a warning that the BBC must address “impartiality problems” it is clear that a fee model originally meant to shield the broadcaster from interference has become a tool of political pressure.

Determining its future, however, should not be the preserve of a government of any one political hue. Proposals should be drawn up by a cross-party commission. It should start from the understanding that the BBC is a public good to be preserved, with some form of universal funding. It could examine the functions the BBC should continue to fulfil, and how best to finance it.

Remaining core functions should be broad enough to justify a compulsory fee and meet the needs of millions of Britons who rely on free-to-air broadcasting — though some add-on services might be sold on subscription. A German-style household levy, perhaps added to council tax, could remove the outdated link with TV ownership, allow an element of means-testing, and be easier to collect. These, though, are details to be thrashed out. The priority — as the Johnson government’s own behaviour has laid bare — is to equip a modernised BBC to continue fulfilling the key role it plays in upholding British democracy.

Title: Re: More than a licence
Post by Dickie Mint on Jan 19th, 2022, 8:45pm

Meanwhile 'across the road' in the Times:

Former culture secretary dismisses alternative funding methods, including subscription

Former culture secretary John Whittingdale has said that the licence fee remains the “least bad model” for funding the BBC.

Writing in The Times, the Conservative MP who lost his media role in September, acknowledged that while “it may not be popular, no viable alternative” exists and he expects this to be the case for some time to come.

Whittingdale poured cold water on each of the other models which have been proposed as potential replacements for the £159 per year regressive fee.
The ability to shift to a subscription model remains “some way off”, he said, clarifying Nadine Dorries’ comments in parliament earlier this week that superfast broadband is available in 95% of households.
“Availability is not the same as take-up,” he said. “And there are many who cannot afford, or do not wish, to pay for additional TV content or even a broadband service.”
He estimated that almost 8m adults only have access to free-to-air TV.

The government will only be able to switch off free-to-air TV when that number is close to zero, according to Whittingdale, who reiterated: “It is not possible to offer subscription services through terrestrial transmission to a TV aerial as there is no facility to opt not to receive them.”

Introducing advertising onto the BBC was dismissed as a non-starter due to the impact on the other commercial PSBs, while simultaneously forcing the corporation to become “more populist”.

He was also sceptical about funding from general taxation. “[That] would lead to an annual argument between the BBC and the Treasury, weakening its independence and doing little to lessen the resentment of taxpayers”.

Whittingdale warned that it is inevitable that the fall in TV licences purchased, which slipped by 700,000 last year and cost the BBC £100m, will continue as increasing numbers of viewers turn their backs on the BBC.
It is suffering declining revenues at the same time as competition from US giants, “whose spend on TV content far outstrips that of the BBC” continues to grow.

“Going forward, public support for it depends on the BBC continuing to convince people that they personally benefit from its services provided, and this is likely to become steadily harder to do,” he said.
“It is right that the debate about future funding should start now, but it may be that the licence fee remains the least bad model for some time to come.”

'Previous' Culture Secretary, wonder why they got rid of him? Was he against this hare-brained scheme?  He would have had access to all the previous reviews!

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