BBC in Peril


I've got a chapter in a new book, which is being published this week. It's all about the future shape of the BBC and contains contributions from all sorts of people with views on this important subject, including David Cox , Rob Wilson, Brian Winston, Jean Seaton, Ivor Gaber, Steve Barnett, Owen Bennett-Jones, Gillian Reynolds, John Simpson and Fiona Chesterton. 

I haven't seen the other chapters but I suspect mine will be rather different to those! 

Here's an extract from my chapter...

The key think the BBC needs to do now is to rethink what its purpose is. Is its remit still to “inform, educate and entertain” or does it need to move away from its Reithian heritage? From there it needs to get on the front foot on how it is funded. Instead of leaving it to government to dictate the terms of its financing it should immediately start to think about alternative forms of financing rather than just repeat is mantra that the licence fee is the best form of funding there is. Once upon a time that may well have been the case. In the media environment of the 2020s, it isn’t.

Viewers are used to subscribing to Sky, to Netflix, to Amazon Prime, to Disney and now to Britbox. All these media providers have to provide an offering that leads to their customers wanting to part with their money. The BBC does not. We have to pay £157.50 whether we like it or not. Let’s not beat about the bush. It’s a poll tax. And if you don’t pay it you can face a prison sentence. One in ten court cases in this country revolve around the non-payment of TV licences.

What is public service broadcasting in 2020? Surely it has to revolve around providing broadcast services that the commercial sector won’t, or can’t. That’s not to say that it shouldn’t provide entertainment programmes too, but one thing it should not be doing is competing on every level with commercial broadcasters.

You can download the Kindle eBook HERE. A paperback will be released in a few days time.