This section is for thrashing out ideas for UK Policy ideas related to Television & Radio broadcasting.
The BBC and the TV Licence Fee
There is already discussion underway elsewhere over this issue. One idea I’ve been meaning to write down for the couple of months prior to the 2019 Snap General Election was how to restructure the BBC.
— Climate Realists (@ClimateRealists) December 15, 2019
I already knocked out a blog post concerning this after the BBC did some things it probably shouldn’t have during an election debate.
Roughly 10% of all cases in magistrates’ courts each year concern non-payment of BBC license fees. That is 200,000 cases. Incredible! Most are poor women, often single mothers who rarely watch the BBC. Boris must stop this.
— Alan Sked (@profsked) December 18, 2019
Some think tank type organisations that are more well known than my solo blogging efforts have ended up becoming after all these years are pushing for ditching the licence fee entirely, or decriminalising not having a TV licence so it doesn’t keep the courts busy.
“Different forms of corporate governance work well in different situations. So, why not turn the BBC into a subscriber-owned mutual and create a genuine people’s broadcaster?”
— IEA (@iealondon) December 15, 2019
TPA tax briefing: 🖥️📻 The licence fee means that television viewers who do not care for or who object to BBC output are compelled to fund the BBC to gain permission to watch non-BBC material.
— TaxPayers’ Alliance (@the_tpa) December 12, 2019
Previously I’ve said it should have been cut back from £144 or whatever it was to £99.99 to make the figure look more palatable. Only to see them jack the price up to £154.
My new current idea I’ve been forming in my sinusitis filled little head goes something along these lines:
Chop the licence fee back to a more palatable £75 a year to price-match it with popular online streaming services such as the following:
Have this “basic” level new licence fee cover use of the following:
- BBC News
- BBC Parliament
- BBC Radio 1
- BBC Radio 2
- BBC Radio 3
- BBC Radio 4
- BBC Radio 5
- BBC Local Radio
- BBC Alba
- Other “free to air” channels (ITV, Channel4, Channel 5, etc)
Make the following services “add-on” similar to what you can get with the “Amazon Channels” package on Amazon Prime, available bundled with a Sky or Virgin Media Television package, or as add-ons via BBC iPlayer, Amazon Channels + other services:
- BBC 3 (back on broadcast again, as well as online)
- BBC 4
- BBC Radio 6 Music
- Other BBC Radio services
Create the following new BBC Commercial Channels to help generate revenue to subsidise the lower cost of the licence fee, run via same methods as the above 4 items as an add-on package:
- BBC Sport
- BBC Movies
- BBC Food & Home (cooking + home improvement / gardening type content)
— ConservativeChitChat (@ConservativeCCh) December 17, 2019
Something certainly needs to be done about it. For years, dating back at least to 2004, people of a Conservative Party / UKIP / English Democrat Party / Brexit Party / Libertarian Party supporting position in politics have been complaining of BBC Bias.
When the BBC Newsroom has gone on strike, I’ve heard feedback from customers of the family business, as well as people on social media, saying how the content on BBC News was an improvement on normal with it being whittled down to a skeleton crew that was having to do an actual news show.
Mostly down to the back room staff apparently having a “New Labour” / Liberal Democrat / SNP political bias to them.
More recently those on the left side of politics have apparently started complaining about them as well.
Freeview TV Transmitter Network
This next item has been bugging me ever since the final digital switchover back in 2012.
Unfortunately as in my case, some areas are limited to having a “Freeview Light” transmitter like the one in Whitby, meaning you don’t get the full-monty selection of Freeview channels, meaning you’re better off getting a Satellite TV system to run Sky or FreeSat, or if you live in an area where it’s available, Virgin Media cable.
I suggest making a push to make all TV transmitters “full service” as a matter of priority almost as great as rolling out Fibre-Optic broadband.