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scottishtv1,804 posts since 6 Nov 2001
STV Central Reporting Scotland
Always in the Sunday Times, always completely inline with Whittingdale and Murdoch's world view. Although I think this time it is Cummings.

You're right. Despite it being Murdoch-owned, I'm an online subscriber to these papers as I used to like the in-depth reporting of TOL in the old days before the paywall went up. I'm perfectly capable of reading opinion columns I don't agree with, and overlooking some 'pet peeves' of the editor. That said, The Sunday Times over the last few years has moved right considerably in tone and content. Weekly columns against the BBC, Facebook and Google (cos they took all the paper's ad revenue) and always some overblown, exaggerated stories on gender issues. Then there's Rod Liddle.


The political editor (and author of the BBC story) barely hides his admiration of Boris and Co. on social media. That's fine as long as it doesn't affect the reporting, but I'm starting to think it is. His books on Brexit were full of Vote Leave insider chat and these contacts are now in Number 10, and it looks very much like they are feeding "big talk" on policy straight to the paper's front page.

I hope it is just that - big talk for an admiring journalist. Once the civil servants get stuck into the detail of some of these stupid ideas, they should quickly come unstuck.
Inspector Sands14,549 posts since 25 Aug 2004


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SomeRandomStuff1,294 posts since 29 Apr 2009
The License fee cannot be justified in a market that is increasingly favouring subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, both of which do not require a TV license.

Yes there are parts of the BBC that are not competitive and would likely be forced to close if they became commercial.

Your second paragraph contradicts your first.

Are amazon prime or netflix going to set up a local radio station in my town that covers local news, sport and community events? The commercial station moved to Buckinghamshire then London to cut costs and the company that owns the local newspaper is heavily in debt and could go pop at any second.

The license fee is only a problem because somebody decided it was rather than the other issues facing the country. Yeah you could hide the cost away in general taxation and hope that keeps angry people on social media happy but let's face it, even if the BBC is gone they'll still claim the media in this country is too tory/"leftie" and will never be happy.

There is no contradiction. Services that would be commercially viable such as BBC One or Radio 2 would be funded by advertising or subscription depending on the needs of the service and its audience. Services that would not be commercially viable such as Radio 3 or perhaps your local radio station could be funded by a grant-in-aid from the government instead of the license fee. Nobody with any brain cells would expect Amazon or Netflix to run a local radio station.

I do agree with your point about it not really being a pressing issue compared to others and you are right, whatever happens not everyone will be happy about it.

The whole point of the licence fee is to fund programmes and services that would not be commercially viable .

Any comparison with Netflix is always going to be fatally flawed.

Yet much of the BBC output WOULD be commercially viable and is competitive against commercial alternatives already. Strictly regularly trounces the competition in the ratings. I very much doubt that would change if there were commercial breaks during the programme.

I was not comparing the BBC to Netflix. The market seems to becoming more subscription based and moving away from broadcast television as ratings continue their downhill trend. The government is not going to force people to pay the license fee to watch those subscription services, as it would open a whole can of worms surrounding sites like Youtube, you'd need a license fee just to access the internet and that would go down like a bucket of cold sick.

So either they stick with the status quo and just allow the BBC to slowly die through the loss of fee payers or they free the BBC from the shackles of the License Fee and allow it to sink or swim in the commercial arena. With the BBC continuing to produce PSB programmes with funding directly from the government, with as others have said, 'safeguards' in place to prevent the government of the day snatching away the money when they dislike the current editorial stance.
Charlie Wells3,867 posts since 26 Nov 2003 Moderator
Anglia (West) Look East (West sub-opt)
Long term I wonder if the solution might be to have the TV licence fee collected as part of the council tax. Then existing council tax discounts and exemptions could apply to the TV licence element. Also reducing the amount of discount given to B&W licenses should seriously be considered, as the number of people worth these licences seems suspiciously high for 2020.

In general though threatening to axe the TV licence does seem to be a favourite distraction for governments. Realistically I can't imagine many people willing to pay a subscription to watch BBC Parliament. Similarly I doubt any privatised broadcaster wanting to run such a channel as I doubt it would be profitable in the commercial sector. (Though I suppose you could have... "The budget is sponsored by Goldman Sachs" Razz)
"Listen, we've all got something to bring to this conversation, but from now on what I think you should bring is silence." - Rimmer
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mat76 and Spencer gave kudos
London Lite11,289 posts since 4 Jan 2003
London London
With regards to advertising, they could use the France Télévisions model where they're allowed to advertise except during prime time. So here in the UK, that would be from 7pm-10.35pm after the news on weekdays, which would maintain the prime advertising slots for ITV, C4, C5 and multi-channel broadcasters and longer at weekends, so that Strictly and MOTD don't have commercials, so the Corporation can't make ad revenue from their big prime time hitters.
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Josh gave kudos
sjhoward542 posts since 21 Sep 2003
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
Similarly I doubt any privatised broadcaster wanting to run such a channel as I doubt it would be profitable in the commercial sector. (Though I suppose you could have... "The budget is sponsored by Goldman Sachs" Razz)


It was originally privately funded when it was The Parliamentary Channel (as of course is C-SPAN in the US, on which it was modelled). Not all commercial services have to be profitable: look at Sky News , and note that Times Radio discussed elsewhere is planned to be commercial-free and presumably loss-making).

(Though, to be clear, I wholly support the licence fee and would be amazed if the current "dead cat" chatter leads to anything like its removal!)
sjhoward.co.uk
JKDerry2,458 posts since 15 Oct 2016
UTV Newsline
RTE in Ireland has both licence fee money and advertising allowed by the Irish government. The current model sees RTE receive a €160 a year licence fee imposed on Irish households, with a restricted amount of advertising permitted, but controlled by an allowance provided per year.

A one hour programme on RTE can only have two short commercial breaks, compared to a one hour show on the commercial Virgin Media One channel which can have three commercial breaks in it.

Even this model of funding is coming under review in Ireland
Brekkie34,004 posts since 4 Jan 2003
HTV Wales Wales Today
Long term I wonder if the solution might be to have the TV licence fee collected as part of the council tax. Then existing council tax discounts and exemptions could apply to the TV licence element. Also reducing the amount of discount given to B&W licenses should seriously be considered, as the number of people worth these licences seems suspiciously high for 2020.

I think the Black and White discount should just go completely - it should have done a long time ago.


Shifting responsibility to the council should be a non-starter - just makes no sense for it to be collected on a local level. However we do know the government like to refer services for previously national funded operations and expect the councils to fund them, although with a reduced budget. Really though unless you're talking hyper local channels then it is a non-starter IMO.
Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.
Markymark7,845 posts since 13 Dec 2004 Recently warned
Meridian (North) South Today
Didn't Greg Dyke ensure in the early days of Freeview that a way of possibly encrypting the BBC in the future was left out of the tech spec to ensure it remained a universal service.


He pushed ahead with backing the Freeview platform, that replaced On/ITV Digital that meant the market would get flooded with receivers lacking a CA card slot (the OnD boxes all had one) thus making them unable to decode any future encypted service. One solution to counter this would be to close the DTT (aka Freeview) platform (it won't last forever anyway) and force on line and D-Sat delivery (D-Sat's days are numbered too)
I think licence fee issues or not, the delivery of all TV services will be a different landscape by the end of this decade.

BBC radio, as pointed out, will be more difficult to encrypt, but analogue and DAB delivery will go the same way as telly, probably not as rapidly
iee_reith14 posts since 17 Oct 2018
London London
Strictly regularly trounces the competition in the ratings. I very much doubt that would change if there were commercial breaks during the programme.


But would Strictly have been created, in 2004, by anyone other than the BBC? Sure loads of commercial shows have since been created that copy it, because it proved a ratings success - but guaranteed income does provide a safeguard to take more risks. The same is true of the commercially-successful 'Doctor Who' relaunch in 2005. At the time, it's reported, even the BBC's audience research department were saying 'no one watches TV as a family.' Of course not, until you take the risk to provide it.
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mat76, Brekkie and gordonthegopher gave kudos
JKDerry2,458 posts since 15 Oct 2016
UTV Newsline
These threats to the BBC are not new. Just looking back at history the BBC has always come under threat from the government of the day.

Nothing will materialise of these threats, they are simply a distraction and a little bit of meat thrown to the ultra conservatives who hate nearly everything about the BBC - but I bet most of them use it every single day.
JKDerry2,458 posts since 15 Oct 2016
UTV Newsline



This was recommended in the Peacock Report of 1986 and as usual was buried after a few weeks of it in the press - take no notice of this nonsense.