Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Compulsory pay TV and how to end it

I have a standing order demanding I pay £131.50 (NZ$400) for a pay TV service that I didn’t ask for, and don’t really like. I am about to tell the organisation concerned this fact.
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Like many European countries, the UK does not have free to air television. Every year, the BBC through its subsidiary “TV Licencing” strongarms £131.50 out of every British household for the privilege of using a colour TV set. Excluding the elderly, for political reasons, this means that the UK has compulsory pay TV.
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The UK TV licence, unlike the abolished NaZis on Air TV licence in NZ, does not go to an independent body to allocate funds based upon proposals put forward by broadcasters. Oh no. It all goes to the BBC. Why? Because, apparently, without the BBC getting this funding, all hell would break lose. The world would end, and British society would decay with the other 19 advertising supported ACTUAL free to air channels (3 analogue the rest on digital freeview) clearly doing such a bad job.
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The BBC is only a “public” broadcaster in that it is state owned, plays a few minority oriented programmes and carries no advertising. Besides that it is an enormous expensive populist organisation. It pays high rating Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles £630,000 a year – presumably to avoid him being poached by commercial radio. Now given he is very popular, given the music played on Radio 1 is essentially Top 40 contemporary hits (a highly commercially viable format), you’d have to wonder why people are forced to pay for it? Terry Wogan on Radio 2 gets £800,000 a year, and is also very popular and is on a format (adult contemporary) that is highly commercially viable. Jonathan Ross, who presents a weekly TV and a weekly radio show is to be paid an estimated £18 million to be exclusive with the BBC for the next four years. The BBC also spend millions to share the coverage for the soccer World Cup – the final was simulcast on ITV and BBC1 – why didn’t the BBC leave it alone, as it costs a fortune to compete with commercial broadcasters who themselves were very willing to show it? The reason is – the BBC is driven by ratings, and has little constraint on funding.
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So is that public broadcasting? Spending vast amounts of forcibly acquired money to compete with commercial broadcasting on their terms? Well the BBC couldn’t give a flying of course, because every year it asks the government to raise the licence fee by an exhorbitant amount, and the government agrees to raise it, by a little less. Apparently the licence fee keeps the BBC independent – ha! Independent from its craven ecological philosophy that makes Friends of the Earth always welcome? Independent such as the statement from a BBC London interviewer that “stockbrokers don’t actually produce anything”.
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There are conflicting views about the public opinion of the licence fee. According to Wikipedia “a poll by the BBC's current affairs programme 'Panorama' showed that 31% were in favour of the existing licence fee system, 36% said the BBC should be paid for by a subscription, and 31% wanted advertising to pay for the programmes.” The BBC thinks the public is willing to pay £31 more a year – unfortunately it wont test this, because nothing about the licence fee is about “the willing”.
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A majority want to either not pay (advertising is fine to them), or to choose to be able to pay. The BBC prefers forcing people to pay – this fascist approach is regardless of whether or not you ever watch or listen to the BBC. There are plenty of options not to.
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Fascist? Really? Well you see, you are forced to have a “licence” to operate an appliance that you own which does not in the slightest way interfere with other people (excluding operating it very loud, but then you don’t need a licence for your stereo or voice!). On top of that, the organisation (Capita) responsible for collecting the licence fee can send agents round to check up on whether or not you have a licence or need one. Then if the agent (who gets commission to catch you) has reasonable cause to suspect you operate a TV set he can apply for a search warrant to check to see if you have a TV – a SEARCH warrant.
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Yes the BBC is fascist. It is the Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation.
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The BBC supports extending this fascism using the Orwellian doublespeak of its surveys. The public isn’t willing to pay the licence fee – it is forced to.
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British TV owners should boycott the fee and write to the Secretary of State for Culture and say no to being forced to pay for the BBC. The BBC should become a pay TV organisation – that would be true public broadcasting. An easy transition is the shift from analogue to digital. People with digital TVs or digital set top boxes (including all subscribers to existing pay TV services) would be exempt from the licence fee, but would also have to pay a subscription to receive the seven BBC TV channels. Those with analogue TVs and no digital equipment would still pay the licence fee, but this would incentivise them to shift to digital.
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Of course this will mean the BBC gets less revenue, and will need to divest itself of commercially viable operations or introduce advertising. Local radio should be the first to go, and then the most popular network radio, such as Radio 1, Radio 2 and Fivelive. However, many would save money by not paying for what they don’t want. People on low incomes could watch commercial television without being forced to pay for the BBC, and the BBC would need to be accountable for how much it spends on.
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However, far too many in the UK are listless useless inert nobodies, who have the “mustn’t grumble” attitude, who rather than fighting for something out of principle, will roll on all fours and pull open their bumcheeks. Oh and don’t expect the BBC to broadcast in primetime a show where this issue is debated openly and evenly – you’d need a truly independent broadcaster for that to happen.
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and if you want to ask the TV Licencing fascists why they force people to pay for something they didn't ask for, may never use and don't like? Go here. I already have.
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The TV licence was ended in NZ, largely due to a campaign started by Lindsay Perigo, Deborah Coddington and the Libertarianz – although it was replaced with taxpayer funding and the public didn’t mind that. It is about time that the Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation was told it had to convince people to pay for it, not force them – given that it doesn’t understand the concept of voluntary choice, it will be a hard battle.

2 comments:

KG said...

"However, far too many in the UK are listless useless inert nobodies, who have the “mustn’t grumble” attitude, who rather than fighting for something out of principle, will roll on all fours and pull open their bumcheeks."

Absolutely! And not just in the U.K.

cow said...

will roll on all fours and pull open their bumcheeks

is this something you do often ls ?