Sunday, June 18, 2006

BBC - biggest blowers of cash

The BBC, fresh from signing a new contract with talkshow and radio presenter Jonathan Ross for reportedly 18 million pounds for three years ( note this was because Ross is SO popular, there was a "risk" he would defect to commercial TV networks - so he would hardly be lost to the British TV viewing public), now it is revealed in the Sunday Times that the BBC has sent three times the number of people than ITV to cover the World Cup soccer. Three times!! Now the audience for the games isn't "higher" with the BBC - but hey the BBC just wants more money year after year - by force through the TV licence (which is an exhorbitant 131.50 pounds) because it is SO important to public broadcasting.
The BBC is the dominant UK broadcaster because it acts like commercial broadcasters. When it starts wasting licence fee extortion on competing with commercial broadcasters (who get money by broadcasting what viewers want), and pay TV (likewise!) for salaries of stars - people who will always be on TV and radio in the UK because of their popularity, it is no public broadcaster. Can you imagine other state broadcasters, like ABC Australia, CBC Canada and PBS in the US fighting to pay celebrity salaries? Of course not. Can you imagine them providing treble the staff to do what is essentially a commercially viable broadcasting job? No.
The BBC is out of control. I once suggested on a BBC talk show that with digital TV, licence fee payments could be voluntary. People could have the BBC on subscription, and the insulted response was "how ridiculous, we couldn't do public broadcasting". Yes you could - Jonathan Ross, the World Cup, Chris Moyles on Radio 1, Radio 1 Xtra and local radio has nothing to do with filling a "gap in the market", but about eliminating it and not being accountable for it.
The BBC needs putting on a leash. The licence fee should be voluntary and tied to converting all digital BBC channels to a pay only service. It should sell Radio 1 and 1Xtra (both are essentially duplicates of commercial networks), and sell Radio 2 and all of the regional breakout stations. I'd probably subscribe to the BBC, I like some of what it broadcasts, but it is erratic. Sometimes it is innovative and creative, sometimes it produces the same sort of mass commercial programming indistinguisable from ITV, Channel 4 or 5 channels.


Anonymous said...

Are you sure that the TV licence fee still exists? I'm sure they cancelled it when we were living there (2000 to 2003)

Libertyscott said...

Certain - I paid the damned thing after threats of court action. There is an insidious campaign to dob in people without a TV licence, including workplaces where people have taken spare TVs to watch the World Cup.