BBC’s New Year fight back – and Grade’s farewell

Not only political parties but the BBC has started a New Year campaign, according to the Guardian leak (link corrected).

…the licence fee generates £7.2bn for the UK economy by supporting the independent production sector and other parts of the “creative economy” – more than twice the value of the licence fee. The figure rises to £7.6bn when the value of joint ventures, such as UKTV, owner of cable channels that run repeats of BBC programmes, is included. It will say that private sector beneficiaries of BBC investment include independent production companies who produce around 40% of BBC TV programmes around the UK, such as Spooks, Life on Mars, Waterloo Road, Who Do You Think You Are?, and Question Time. It is expected to find that the independent TV production sector, which Deloitte describes as “one of the crown jewels of the UK creative economy”, would be around two thirds of its size if it wasn’t for the BBC, a potential reduction of £1.4bn. Deloitte will conclude that if the BBC was run as a commercial concern around £4bn would be lost to the UK economy.

Nonetheless, novelist and ex-BBC governor PD James’ grilling of DG Mark Thompson was a joy to listen to.
(Radio 4 Today programme 0.8 20 a.m. slot)

Meanwhile, outgoing ITV and ex-BBC chairman ( and ex- chief executive Channel 4) Michael Grade ends his troubled ITV reign with a plea to government to ease competition rules and protect British-sourced production rather than hand commercial TV over to global players like Google. This is really about the future of on demand access and the future of TV- computer covergence , a subject that’s vital for the future of broadcasting but has yet to grip the public’s imagination. How does he classfy Murdoch-controlled Sky – potential domestic partner or global predator?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London