Licence to moan…

This is as stout a defence of the value for money the BBC provides it licence payers, and it comes from…. wait for it… the Mail on Sunday’s Money Blog… Sshhhh, don’t tell David Vance…. For more on the argument both ways, Biased BBC, and Tim Ireland.

  • Henry94

    It is a bewildering mystery to me how anyone can begrudge paying £126 a year for what we get from the BBC

    You don’t need to understand peoples decisions on how to spend their own money. The state has no business running a Television service and should not be in a position to oblige people to support it.

    Why not slap a license fee on computers to finance state run web services?

    The reality is the fee has been overtaken by technology. There is now reason the BBC can’t become a subscription service for those who want it.

    Puccini is better than Lloyd-Webber, Rembrandt is better than Rolf Harris, cricket is better than rounders … Bleak House IS better than Big Brother.

    The Guardian is better than the Sun. Should people be forced to buy it?

  • willis

    It is funny how the demise of ITV (steady lad!) has given an awful lot of people second thoughts about the licence fee. UTV is a very successful company, you might think that would mean a Belfast Rebus or Taggart, ‘fraid not. What has Sky done for local programming?

    Just keep taking their money David.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    It’s simple maths really.

    An Irish speaker in the North of Ireland gets £1.20 per year in programming from the BBC. A Welsh speaker or Scots Gaelic speaker gets more than twenty times that in return. (ULTACH Trust figures).

    For £131.50 – for it is that – that’s a shoddy return and illustrates the BBC’s inability to deal with Ireland’s indigenous languages on an equal footing with Britain’s Celtic languages.

    No doubt the money saved on Irish is well spent, investing in the internet service which is availed of throughout the world without any licence fee being paid.

    BBC’s vanity project shouldn’t be at the expense of its public service committment.

  • Mick,

    If this subjective drivel from Adrian Lowery is typical of the Mail on Sunday’s financial advice, is it any wonder more and more people get into debt?

    Time to axe the BBC license fee – and an end to Statist broadcasting.

  • willis

    DV

    Funny how often this ‘Statist’ broadcaster is at odds with the Government. I’m sure when the Blessed Margaret was in charge the ‘Statist’ Broadcaster transmitted only the truth!

  • Without getting drawn into the debate about how minority languages are funded by the BBC, or whether mainstream commercial broadcasters do a better job, it seems that the Beeb (for all its failings) produces some excellent programming, and offers a high degree of choice – even on Saturday afternoons, when all the commercial terrestrial channels are being wasted showing people playing games 😉

    It is largely the economies of scale due to universal “subscription” via license fee that allows this to happen.

    A system where the “lumpen prolitariat” were able (by channelling their benefit cheques exclusively to Sky Sports and Movies, or the Big Brother Shopping Channel) to avoid funding programmes that would give their offspring choice and the ability to escape the mental poverty of their parents, is hardly going to enhance opportunity or diversity.

    Still, I suppose the kids can always get a book from a library if they are that keen to learn, eh?

  • willis

    Ah yes the offspring, the rising sons and daughters.

    As long as they eat junk food all will be well in the world of commercial broadcasting.

    http://media.guardian.co.uk/advertising/story/0,,1833675,00.html

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Paul: “Without getting drawn into the debate about how minority languages are funded by the BBC, or whether mainstream commercial broadcasters do a better job, it seems that the Beeb (for all its failings) produces some excellent programming, and offers a high degree of choice – even on Saturday afternoons, when all the commercial terrestrial channels are being wasted showing people playing games 😉 ”

    In other words, “Please don’t point out these gaping holes in my logic as to the efficacy of the BBC.” While they do produce some fine shows, they also have their fair share of clunkers and dross as well, Paul. Why should a body be charged for a service they do not use and would not pay for, save for the power of force that they state can bring to bear? Would you pay to support a automobile repair shop if you relied solely on public transport?

    Paul: “It is largely the economies of scale due to universal “subscription” via license fee that allows this to happen.”

    Sort of like the rate of “contribution” to American social security — a tax, tarted up with a lie.

    Paul: “A system where the “lumpen prolitariat” were able (by channelling their benefit cheques exclusively to Sky Sports and Movies, or the Big Brother Shopping Channel) to avoid funding programmes that would give their offspring choice and the ability to escape the mental poverty of their parents, is hardly going to enhance opportunity or diversity. ”

    Still have a desire for a centrally controlled economy and spending other people’s money for them, neh?

  • willis

    DC

    Would you pay to support a automobile repair shop if you relied solely on public transport?

    Bad analogy

    If you don’t want any TV or Radio you don’t pay a license fee. Wish it was the same for paying for Iraq.

  • Dread: Please don’t point out these gaping holes in my logic as to the efficacy of the BBC

    I’ve been sussed 😉
    And yes, parts of the BBC are useless and broken. Like any other body, in fact.

    Would you pay to support a automobile repair shop if you relied solely on public transport?

    Well, if it maintained emergency vehicles, then quite possibly.

    Still have a desire for a centrally controlled economy and spending other people’s money for them, neh?

    Centrally controlled economies tend not to work. On the other hand, not everything can be done by untrammelled private enterprise — not least because most real markets are not “perfect” (as all too often assumed by free market dogma).

    In the real world, regulation or limited public provisioning can be a useful compromise.

  • Henry: Why not slap a license fee on computers to finance state run web services?

    Well, they have suggested a license fee on internet connections, to finance private sector media conglomerates. It can only be a matter of time…

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Paul: “Well, if it maintained emergency vehicles, then quite possibly. ”

    And willis says I use flawed analogies… oy.

    Paul: “Centrally controlled economies tend not to work. On the other hand, not everything can be done by untrammelled private enterprise—not least because most real markets are not “perfect” (as all too often assumed by free market dogma).”

    Actually, in the television field, increased competition does tend to bring forth a superior product. The “lead (as in the metal) age” of television in the U.S. was when there were three broadcasters trying to predict the flavor of the month. With cable, there are a slew of educational channels, special interest channels and entertainment superior to that of the “free” broadcast channels, all arising from competition. Giving the BBC a guaranteed budget, extorted from the masses, pretty much guarantees more of the same — a few good shows, a few critically acclaimed shows few people watch and a lot of what the powers-that-be in the BBC want to make that may or may not have an audience… the broadcast of the Springer Opera comes to mind.

    Paul: “In the real world, regulation or limited public provisioning can be a useful compromise. ”

    Ah, but what the BBC has is neither — what it has is a guaranteed budget, regardless of the quality of its product, extorted throught the power of the state. The state does not control over the BBC, save the decision whether or not to renew its charter. Ideally, the BBC should be more akin to American public broadcasting — seed money from the government and public support, rather than an arbitrary tax.

  • Willis,

    When Thatcher was in power, the leftists at the BBC were in full opposition mode to the idea of a properly Conservative administration. The same Statist broadcaster swooned when Blair and his liberal rabble entered Downing Street. It has only been Blair’s support for the US over recent years that has caused the BBC to kick against him. The BBC is institutionally to the left, it costs a fortune, and contrary to what Mick implies, there is no valid economic case made by the Mail on Sunday.

    Next..

  • willis

    David

    So you agree with me that the ‘statist’ BBC always ends up opposing the state !!

    Next

  • kensei

    “In other words, “Please don’t point out these gaping holes in my logic as to the efficacy of the BBC.” While they do produce some fine shows, they also have their fair share of clunkers and dross as well, Paul.”

    Enirely subjective judgement, answered by the fact that most people are boardly satisfuies with the BBC.

    “Why should a body be charged for a service they do not use and would not pay for, save for the power of force that they state can bring to bear? Would you pay to support a automobile repair shop if you relied solely on public transport?”

    Because the BBC has frionge benefits, like maintaining quality in the market. Compare US versus UK TV news. But this is an ideological argument, and I honestly don’t care for it. The BBC, in general works and benefits everyone. Whether or not it is sound from an ideological standpoint is irrelevant.

    “Sort of like the rate of “contribution” to American social security—a tax, tarted up with a lie.”

    Yeah, the lie that the government will honour it’s bonds and commitmenmts. Been through this one.

    “When Thatcher was in power, the leftists at the BBC were in full opposition mode to the idea of a properly Conservative administration.”

    Since when has far right, neo liberal policies been “peroper Conservative”. The Right consists of many different strands, and neo libberal economics was at one point on the Left, with, well, the Liberal Party. It was radical at the time and this suggestion is nuts.

    “The same Statist broadcaster swooned when Blair and his liberal rabble entered Downing Street.”

    Because he won a huge landslide. Or don’t you care for Democracy.

    “It has only been Blair’s support for the US over recent years that has caused the BBC to kick against him.”

    Only through special Right Wing specs. the BBC is quite happy to kick the government on a range of issues.

    “The BBC is institutionally to the left, it costs a fortune, and contrary to what Mick implies, there is no valid economic case made by the Mail on Sunday.”

    What an amazing incisive and well backed up argument, I’m won over. Oh wait, no, the other one.

  • Doctor Who

    “No doubt the money saved on Irish is well spent, investing in the internet service which is availed of throughout the world without any licence fee being paid.”

    This is not true, certainly the BBc website is available on the web but it´s interactive and live broadcasts are not, with the exception of Radio services excluding live football coverage.

    So if you are a license fee payer but spend a great deal of time abroad, you cannot avail of the full service. This is something Ifeel the BBc needs to look at urgently.

    As for the lack of irish gaelic language programmes, well I´m sure the 3 people with T.V. licenses in Twinbrook, the 2 households in Poleglass and the 1 maisonette in the bogside are more than happy.

  • I Wonder

    Perhaps those here who object to the cost of the licence fee could do their bit to keep it down by refusing payment from the BBC for their appearances on BBC Radio and TV?

    Just otherwise, people might think that they’re being a bit hypocritical…oh wait…

  • willis

    I Wonder

    Trying to rouse a sleeping giant eh!

    I just wonder if there is any connection between the Mail on Sunday’s positive assessment of the BBC and the fact that the Mail Group have been trying to boost their circulation with free DVD’s of David Attenborough wildlife epics.

    Now let’s see, Sky has been operating on subscription and advertising for 10+ years and its own creative output amounts to……..

    I think the begrudgers should do the same as Murdoch, go out there and show us what the free unfettered market can produce. Deadwood anyone?

    Lots of the begrudgers quote Jeff Randall, who certainly has nailed the anti-business bias in parts of the BBC, however The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den have both made serious attempts to make enterprise entertaining.

  • kensai.

    Sorry but your analysis is profoundly flawed, rather like the BBC.

    For starters, “The BBC, in general works and benefits everyone.” Can you share with us your basis for this sweeping claim. It certainly COSTS us. The benefit is less obvious.

    Your idea that the BBC “kicks the government” is a fantasy. The BBC “KICKS the government” when the Government does not conform to its puerile Student Grant agenda, so beloved of the leftists that infest this site.

    Mick’s post was predicated on an alleged economic defence of the BBC license fee. In fact if you read it, it is purely subjective and without economic grounding. Is that SO HARD for you to understand?

    Anyway, nothing I say will change the minds of those here who worship at the gates of the State Broacaster – so I guess I’ll just have to take advantage of all forums offered to me to make the point more broadly that the BBC license tax must go.

    As for those hypocrites who condemn me for accepting offers from the BBC to comment on matters politic, would you take the same view that Sinn Fein/IRA should not accept 1 penny from the British State which they oppose?
    No? While you’re thinking up an answer I’m off to cash my latest BBC cheque.

  • kensei

    “Can you share with us your basis for this sweeping claim. It certainly COSTS us. The benefit is less obvious.”

    Only if you are blind, deaf and never connect to the internet.

    “Your idea that the BBC “kicks the government” is a fantasy. The BBC “KICKS the government” when the Government does not conform to its puerile Student Grant agenda, so beloved of the leftists that infest this site.”

    Suddenly the veil has been lifted from my eyes! Oh, wait no, the other one.

    The BBC is not particularly out of step with the rest of the news media, and stuff like Panorama will frequently produce stuff embrassing to the government. Your problem with the BBC is idelogical, and your opinion is therefore somewhat skewed.

    “Mick’s post was predicated on an alleged economic defence of the BBC license fee. In fact if you read it, it is purely subjective and without economic grounding. Is that SO HARD for you to understand?”

    No, IT ISN’T. Because it is SO EASY. Do you realise how much of a COCK you are BEING?

    The only economic argument the article makes, really, is that the BBC is value for money, because you get a lot from the BBC does a lot for what you pay. Which is objectively true.

    “Anyway, nothing I say will change the minds of those here who worship at the gates of the State Broacaster – so I guess I’ll just have to take advantage of all forums offered to me to make the point more broadly that the BBC license tax must go.”

    This bit is so irony that it rusts.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    David Vance: “Can you share with us your basis for this sweeping claim. It certainly COSTS us. The benefit is less obvious.”

    Kensei: “Only if you are blind, deaf and never connect to the internet. ”

    In other words, no, you can’t, other than to make petty insults and dodge the question.

    Kensei: “The BBC is not particularly out of step with the rest of the news media, and stuff like Panorama will frequently produce stuff embrassing to the government. Your problem with the BBC is idelogical, and your opinion is therefore somewhat skewed. ”

    Your problem is that the BBC is skewed in the direction of your ideology and, thus, your opinion is suspect.

    Kensei: “No, IT ISN’T. Because it is SO EASY. Do you realise how much of a COCK you are BEING? ”

    Ah, when unable to respond with a clever riposte, the subject resorts to petty insults.

    Kensei: “The only economic argument the article makes, really, is that the BBC is value for money, because you get a lot from the BBC does a lot for what you pay. Which is objectively true.”

    Not really. In the states, you probably pay roughly the same for sixty channels, covering the full range of maintream opinion, entertainment and educational options to boot. If the BBC is such a good bargain, why not let it compete on its own two feet? If it really is all that and a bag of chips, why this fear that one day it will have to enter the free marketplace?

  • Dread Cthulhu,

    Thanks for that effective response to Kensai’s babble.

  • willis

    DV

    I do understand that everyone is subjective except you. Given that you have not chosen to supply any links to any economic analysis, let me point you to this short analysis of the Peacock Committee on BBC funding (including that old leftie Samuel Brittain) set up in The Blessed Margaret’s Golden Age.

    Peacock Committee
    Report of the Committee on Financing the BBC
    Appointed: 27th March 1985
    Reported: 29th May 1986
    Members:
    Professor Alan Peacock
    Samuel Brittan
    Judith Chalmers
    Jeremy Hardie
    Professor Alastair Hetherington
    Lord Quinton
    Sir Peter Reynolds
    Discussed: BBC funding (taxation, sponsorship, advertising or licence fee) and efficiency, cable and satellite broadcasting
    Recommended:
    • licence fee continues, indexed to the RPI
    • Radio 1 and 2 privatisation
    • more broadcasting hours
    • independent production quotas
    • ITV companies franchise auctions
    • removal of cable and satellite broadcasting restrictions
    Outcomes included: Charter renewal and licence fee (although increase was less than the BBC had hoped), BBC staff cuts and efficiency drives, night-time broadcasting, independent production sector growth, deregulation of ITV, satellite broadcasting.

    Oh Dear what happened? The enemy lay prostrate before her and yet she did not attack.

    Probably that smoothie Douglas Hurd, like Willie before him, advised her that the country wouldn’t take it. How right he was.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    willis: “Oh Dear what happened? The enemy lay prostrate before her and yet she did not attack. ”

    The elimination of an institution is not something that can usually be done over-night…

    Rome wasn’t brought down in a day, either.

    willis: “Probably that smoothie Douglas Hurd, like Willie before him, advised her that the country wouldn’t take it. How right he was. ”

    That it is beloved doesn’t make it any less the dinosaur, willis.

  • DC: That it is beloved doesn’t make [the BBC] any less the dinosaur, willis.

    Being a “dinosaur” (if by that you mean both old and out of tune with what some observer finds pleasingly modern) does not automatically require that we make something extinct!

    Even (especially?) if you’re on the American Right, and don’t believe in the environment 😉

  • DC: Ah, but what the BBC has is neither [regulation or limited public provisioning] —what it has is a guaranteed budget, regardless of the quality of its product, extorted throught the power of the state.

    Actually it does not. It has budget for a number of years, with renewal conditional partly on the quality of its output, and more fundamentally on satisfying the public that it is doing a good job.

    The state does not control over the BBC, save the decision whether or not to renew its charter.

    Exactly – that, and setting “standards” on quality, which you ignore.

    Ideally, the BBC should be more akin to American public broadcasting—seed money from the government and public support, rather than an arbitrary tax.

    Deliver us all from the US-style moan-a-thons where they try to shame their audience into paying up. The licence fee is worth it for that alone.

    And have you been ignoring the debate on governance of the BBC over the next licence cycle? Some interesting ideas of accountability. I wonder if it will work as well as the balkanised left-wing/right-wing TV news media in the US?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Paul: “Being a “dinosaur” (if by that you mean both old and out of tune with what some observer finds pleasingly modern) does not automatically require that we make something extinct! ”

    Who has said anything about making it extinct?

    Let me make the question plain.

    If the BBC provides such a superior product, why *MUST* it have this archaic and regressive licencing regieme for support, rather than taking its superior product to the marketplace and clearing that evil ould troll Murdoch right off the airways?

    Paul: “Even (especially?) if you’re on the American Right, and don’t believe in the environment 😉 ”

    I would point out it was conservatives that established both the National park system and the Environmental Protection Agency — peddle your propaganda elsewhere, Paul. Just because the right does not subscribe to some neo-Pagan Mother Earth dogma and demand that water discharged from industrial processes be cleaner that the water drawn from the city water supply for said process does not mean we “don’t believe in the environment.”

    I would point out that the United States is closer to its theoretical Kyoto goals that most all of Europe. If the left “believes in the environment” so much, why are they so able to talk the talk, yet stumble so badly when it comes time to walk the walk?

  • willis

    DC

    We can toss the old rhetoric around all day. I picked up on the one in-depth economic analysis done by a deeply conservative govt and asked why they did practically nothing on privatisation or the licence fee and the best you can say in reply is that they need more time.

    The populace in their wisdom decided that their time was up.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Paul: “Actually it does not. It has budget for a number of years, with renewal conditional partly on the quality of its output, and more fundamentally on satisfying the public that it is doing a good job. ”

    This arrangement has allowed it to rest upon its laurels and its status as “an institution.” It has become a calcified mass, surviving on a reputation earned in earlier days.

    Paul: “Exactly – that, and setting “standards” on quality, which you ignore. ”

    If the BBC is free to ignore them (The Springer Opera leaps to mind…), why should I take them seriously?

    Paul: “And have you been ignoring the debate on governance of the BBC over the next licence cycle? Some interesting ideas of accountability.”

    My stars and garters — some thoughts on accountability! After *HOW* many decades are there finally being some “interesting ideas on accountability?”

    Paul: “I wonder if it will work as well as the balkanised left-wing/right-wing TV news media in the US? ”

    Don’t mistake choice for balkanization, Paul. Better a customer’s choice than an institutionalized bias and no other option.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    willis: “We can toss the old rhetoric around all day. I picked up on the one in-depth economic analysis done by a deeply conservative govt and asked why they did practically nothing on privatisation or the licence fee and the best you can say in reply is that they need more time. ”

    The BBC, in its current incarnation, enjoys a great deal of goodwill, a carry-over from earlier days.

    As for Thatcher’s government, I would argue that the end was hastened by the clumsy sucession process / night of long knives, akin to the U.S. Democratic parties practice of circular political firing squads.

  • willis

    DC

    Very gracious retreat, thank you

    Actually a lot of the current goodwill is because the BBC took it’s critics seriously and changed. Certainly it has made a lot fewer business mistakes in the last 10 years than ITV.

    In the case of Dyke’s resurrection of freeview, it could be argued that the commercial world made the perfect case for the BBC.

  • kensei

    “In other words, no, you can’t, other than to make petty insults and dodge the question.”

    Yes I can. If you watch TV or the Radio, or ever use the internet, it is likely you have used the BBC’s services. They also have a direct effect on the competition, normally keeping it up, which is why UK TV news is of a higher standard than the FOX-alikes in the US. The website is particualrly great.

    I should have thought that point was obvious.

    “Your problem is that the BBC is skewed in the direction of your ideology and, thus, your opinion is suspect.”

    Hardly. As an Irish republicans I have plenty of beefs with the BBC, but I recognise it does a lot of good stuff.

    “Ah, when unable to respond with a clever riposte, the subject resorts to petty insults.”

    No, the type of “Is that SO HARD?” style condescending bullshit that you do pisses me off, so I merely parodied it back. With a little javb f course, but again, I should have thought this obvious.

    “Not really. In the states, you probably pay roughly the same for sixty channels, covering the full range of maintream opinion, entertainment and educational options to boot. If the BBC is such a good bargain, why not let it compete on its own two feet? If it really is all that and a bag of chips, why this fear that one day it will have to enter the free marketplace?”

    It certainly wouldn’t get you sixty channels, radio stations and website here, which is the point. I have no doubt the BBC could compete successfully. I just think that the marketplace would change it in negative ways. People wouldn’t make it like it is today, and that is precisely why it is worth keeping. The paradox is that by changing to a purey market based model, you remove choice by forcing it to become like everyone else.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think that if the BBC was the only TV company it would horrifically bad for everyone. And it is noticeable how it has upped it’s game from incresed competition. But I don’t particularly care about Sky’s profits or ITV’s profits, I care about good media. And the BBC forces all those other channels to be better or die – see the current status of ITV and C4. If it came to the point where BBC was overwhelming everyone else, it should be taken down a peg because no competition wuld undoubtedly be bad.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    kensei: “It certainly wouldn’t get you sixty channels, radio stations and website here, which is the point. ”

    I’d have to check the exchange rates to be sure, and the answer has the potential to change, day to day, but here we go… I can probably get my XM Satellite radio and cable on the monthly BBC rate, but probably not Internet. But, with the XM, I have something on the order 150 radio stations. With the cable, I have 60 television channels. In all liklihood, American cable, with broadband internet and a satellite radio is a better bargain than the BBC.

    kensei: “I have no doubt the BBC could compete successfully. I just think that the marketplace would change it in negative ways. People wouldn’t make it like it is today, and that is precisely why it is worth keeping. The paradox is that by changing to a purey market based model, you remove choice by forcing it to become like everyone else. ”

    IOW, the BBC could not be successful as the BBC. With the BBC, you get an homogenized pablum — a singular condescending view on news, an elitist view of what ought to be on television, with a few cheap and poorly made soap-operas for the lower classes to complain about.

    The whole point of the market is that they would not be “forced” to change their product. They would change their product because, without the big stick of government, they could not survive in their present form and programming mix.

    Kensei: “Don’t get me wrong, I think that if the BBC was the only TV company it would horrifically bad for everyone. And it is noticeable how it has upped it’s game from incresed competition. But I don’t particularly care about Sky’s profits or ITV’s profits, I care about good media. And the BBC forces all those other channels to be better or die – see the current status of ITV and C4. If it came to the point where BBC was overwhelming everyone else, it should be taken down a peg because no competition wuld undoubtedly be bad. ”

    But the BBC doesn’t truly compete with anyone — all it has to do is justify its existence every couple of years to continue to get its payment. The reason that the BBC doesn’t get put in the marketplace is that if it had to truly compete, it would go down like a lead balloon.

  • nmc

    I think the BBC is a woeful channel. Between tired, boring, cringworthy dramas, (Eastenders, Neighbours, Diagnosis Murder), tired, boring, recycled programmes, (Chefs programmes, bargain hunt type crap). BBC news is ok, but slanted sometimes – although ten times better than UTVs shaky sets. The idea that we should pay anything towards this crap is ridiculous, I would love to see them sell subscriptions to it, then those that want the beeb can pay for it and the rest of us won’t have to.

    As for the website, yeah it’s great, anyone can access it in the same way that anyone can access the US FOX web site. What’s the point?

  • Willis,

    So let me get this right. You’re quoting me Judith Chalmers as part of your robust defence of the BBC? lol!!!!! Not waving, drowning….

  • willis

    David

    You are so right! Although compared with some of the 1983-1987 Tory Govt decisions, putting a TV presenter on a committee to look at TV almost seems enlightened.

    Glad you found the rest of my comments acceptable.

  • Willis,

    Lack of comment = Lack of interest. 😉

  • kensei

    “I’d have to check the exchange rates to be sure, and the answer has the potential to change, day to day, but here we go… I can probably get my XM Satellite radio and cable on the monthly BBC rate, but probably not Internet. But, with the XM, I have something on the order 150 radio stations. With the cable, I have 60 television channels. In all liklihood, American cable, with broadband internet and a satellite radio is a better bargain than the BBC.”

    I’m sorry, I think the point I made was that you couldn’t get anything like it OVER HERE for the same price, which is the only fair comparison as we are shafted for everything.

    “IOW, the BBC could not be successful as the BBC. With the BBC, you get an homogenized pablum—a singular condescending view on news, an elitist view of what ought to be on television, with a few cheap and poorly made soap-operas for the lower classes to complain about.”

    Totally subjective nonsense the lot. The BBC could probably be successful as the BBC – it produces a lot of decent stuff and could probably cross subidises the loss making stuff, but commercial pressure would undoubtedly force it to drop a lot of it in favour of, say, competing for live Premiership football.

    “The whole point of the market is that they would not be “forced” to change their product. They would change their product because, without the big stick of government, they could not survive in their present form and programming mix.”

    Christ, this is my point. I like the BBC with all the non commercial stuff; it makes it interesting and unique. If the BBC didn’t do it, no one would.

    I am aware of how the market operates. I am aware of the changes it would bring about. I don’t think it would be a positive thing, so I’m happy to keep things the way it is. It is no more difficult than that. The market isn’t god. It is merely a highly useful tool, and should be seen as such. One that doesn’t need to be applied where things are working.

    “But the BBC doesn’t truly compete with anyone—all it has to do is justify its existence every couple of years to continue to get its payment.”

    And it has to do that by competing with everyone else and proving that it offers something unique and differenta nd worth keeping. So now, it has to drive Digital TV and produce a load of successful stuff, otherwise it will lose said license fee and change completely. What you are saying may have been true 20 years ago but certainly isn’t now.

    “The reason that the BBC doesn’t get put in the marketplace is that if it had to truly compete, it would go down like a lead balloon.”

    No, it is because people have an attachment to “Auntie”. It is no more or less than that, otherwise it would be an easy win for the government to sell it off.

    I feel to see why anyone in the US should care how the BBC is run. In fact, you should be happya t great great web services for nowt.

  • willis

    This report from the Work Foundation seems to imply that the public will pay an increased licence fee but want to be convinced they are getting value for money. That all sounds very sensible. They must be grown-ups

  • willis

    Try again

    “http://www.theworkfoundation.com/aboutus/media/pressreleases/britishpeoplearewillingtopaymoreforthebbc.aspx”

  • willis