Leading article

How to save the BBC? Privatise it

14 September 2013

9:00 AM

14 September 2013

9:00 AM

Three years ago, our columnist and former editor Charles Moore was summoned to Hastings Magistrates’ Court to pay £807 for refusing to pay his television licence. He was protesting against the BBC’s ‘gross violation of its charter’ by broadcasting obscene phone calls made by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand to the former Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs. The court did not have much time to hear his case, or anyone else’s. That day, 560 others would have been prosecuted for not paying their dues to the BBC. Now it has risen to 700 a day, accounting for an extraordinary one in ten of English court cases.

We now know why the Beeb needs the money: it has paid some £60 million in severance payments to various senior managers in the last eight years. When seven BBC executives were asked to explain this to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee this week, they exuded a sense of collective bewilderment that they should be brought to account. This is what happens if you can rely on the taxman to raise the money you spend. Michael Grade, former BBC chairman, put the problem succinctly. ‘Like the very wealthy son of a rich family,’ he said, ‘you don’t learn the value of money.’

The BBC’s problems do not stem from its recent payoffs: they are a symptom of a deeper malaise. It is a bureaucracy, designed for the 1930s, which has somehow made it to the 21st century. Listening to its executives waffle this week, it’s horribly clear that the BBC does not have leadership or even a hierarchy. It simply has a corporate culture in which success comes from keeping your head down. And its money is guaranteed, because people who don’t pay up are taken to court.

In the press, the hierarchy is a pyramid topped by the editor, with whom the buck stops. If a mistake is big enough the editor walks the plank — and rightly so. The BBC is structured in a very different way. Its hierarchy ends in a plateau, in which power is diffused across management teams. If all goes well, everybody takes the credit. If all goes wrong, you can never work out who was responsible and everybody blames somebody else. And if any heads do roll, the fall is cushioned by an eye-watering windfall collected from the people who fill magistrate’s courts across the country.


When justifying huge salaries, the BBC pretends that it is a business competing in a commercial market. But its funding system is justified on the basis that it is a public service devoted to Lord Reith’s mission to inform. This claim never been harder to sustain. It is now using its unfair funding advantage to try to compete with its rivals. Take, for example, its new online ‘magazine’ which this week has a feature about karate-kicking ‘teen exorcists’. Highly entertaining, no doubt, but is this really a public service that no one else would provide?

Then take BBC iPlayer, a highly popular  innovation. But it comes free — or, rather, the costs are collected by the taxman and the magistrates. It’s far easier than asking people to stump up cash. Its website also provides daunting competition for local newspapers, many of which are going out of business. All told, the BBC is the most glaring example of anti-competitive practice in the British economy, yet one which none of the government’s competition quangos has ever seen fit to investigate.

Why does the BBC expand? Because this is what bureaucracies do. Like old imperial armies, they conquer because they feel the only alternative is defeat. The result is a sprawling portfolio of interests, which are very far removed from Lord Reith’s values.

A reckoning is long overdue. The BBC may not know the value of money, but those prosecuted for not paying its fines certainly do. Many of them struggle to make ends meet and would not dream of paying £145.50 for BBC services that they could happily go without. Sky now produces some of the best arts coverage in Britain. The market for drama is now global, and British living rooms are filled with American (and even Danish) DVD box sets.

The BBC can easily compete in such a market, its programmes have a global appeal. It could easily find people willing to pay to watch or listen. But if it wants to be tax-funded, it should restrict itself to a public service remit and focus on reducing the license fee — and the fancy salaries must go for good. There is no possible excuse for paying the head of the state broadcasting service more than the Prime Minister.

The pointless BBC Trust should be abolished, but this will not guarantee the corporation a stable future. On current trends, the BBC’s enforcers will soon end up prosecuting more people than read the Guardian. This is simply not sustainable. An organisation of such quality and global reputation has the potential to become a great, truly independent British institution — and one that does not need to rely on magistrates’ courts for funding. It is odd in many ways that in 30 years of privatisations, many of them very successful, the BBC has hardly been mentioned as a candidate. It is high time this option was properly discussed.

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Show comments
  • Marcus

    It is a simple problem to solve, we must do this ourselves
    as politicians never will because it is a vote loser:

    1. Do not watch live TV
    2. Do not pay your TV licence
    3. Ignore the constant letters from the TV licensing company
    4. Do not write to them telling them you don’t watch live TV, let them waste
    time and money realising you don’t.

    Very soon they will go bankrupt and we will be free this pro EU, pro AGW,
    anti-family, ‘bedroom tax’ coining , middle class root denying yet salary gladly
    parent supported so they can live in a nice flat in Shepherd’s bush, ex-Communists and Socialists (yet packed with individuals funded as ‘private companies’), leeches once and for all.

    • Tony Quintus

      And when the BBC locks the iPlayer to license holders (easily done, just look at Sky GO) what non live content will you watch then?

      • helicoil

        eztv.it

      • Psi

        Chanel 4, Demand 5, ITV Player, Netflicks etc etc etc.

      • Alex

        TQ, you sound as if you are looking forward to the day that the BBC has even more power. Follow Marcus instead of being a wimp.

      • First L

        Support your local Theatre. Much better quality.

      • Marcus

        Sky, free internet TV, ITV player, Channel 4, itunes.
        Read a book.
        Anything but fund those people.

    • Aaron D Highside

      Saved me the trouble of commenting – thanks, Marcus!

    • Write to Capita (TVLA) and point out that you have no contract with them. Then notify them that you have formally withdrawn their common law right of access to your property.

      Sorted.

      You could also get shot of your TV. We did years ago, we weren’t watching it, and anything we might fancy you can find on the internet. Saw all the Lions tests and all the Ashes on the PC. Most Man City games live.

      • Please do not take this advice, its the ‘Freeman’ nut cases. Yes cancel your TV Licence but withdrawing right of access just puts a target on your back. If you need help with BBC TV Licensing visit – http://www.tvlicenceresistance.info/forum

      • Bedsit_Bob

        Aaron D Highside says “Write to Capita (TVLA)”

        FYI. Capita are not the TVLA.

        The TVL Authority is the BBC.

    • Alex

      You should say what you think Marcus.

      £3.7 billion of licence tax that is not needed.

      Stop being lemmings you Brits, follow Marcus instead.

    • Don Logan

      Nice flat in Shepherd’s Bush……now steady on…..

  • Ostercy

    Get lost, you ideological Daleks.

    • realfish

      Ex-term-inate

    • MrVeryAngry

      I am Davros and you will obey.

    • John Smith

      Its William Hartnell’s dad!

  • Faceless Bureaucrat

    Perhaps the BBC could be offered as part of a Government Privatisation BOGOF deal? – buy Royal Mail & get the BBC thrown in for free.
    Just sayin’…

    • Tony Quintus

      Given that the BBC brand, market share and back catalogue are worth a hell of a lot more than the royal mail I think that might be a little silly

      • Faceless Bureaucrat

        Looks good on paper, until the Government reminds any would-be buyer that under TUPE agreements, they cannot touch the current salary levels or gold-plated Pensions of the huge numbers of existing BBC staff. After the would-be buyer has recovered from their faint, suspect the offer would be revised downwards substantially…

      • MrVeryAngry

        No it’s a great idea. You’d sell the BBC and throw in the Royal Mail. What’s not to like?

  • willshome

    Piffle. There are plenty of privatised television channels, and plenty of people who have made absolute fortunes out of them without the Spectator raising a peep. (ITV was “a licence to print money”, remember?) The major obstacle to the private fat cats making even more more, by driving down the quality of programming to that commonplace in America (and yes, I know there are exceptions) is the sheer quality of programming that has been maintained over the decades by the BBC. The British think good telly is their birthright, like fresh air and democracy – and it is. The idea that the main thrust to privatise comes from anything but the wish to hobble the competition is ludicrous. Of course some people will complain about paying their share for the common good – from health care to refuse collection. But the idea that the licence fee is not value for money simply does not stand up to scrutiny.

    • the baracus

      “…Of course some people will complain about paying their share for the common good – from health care to refuse collection. But the idea that the licence fee is not value for money simply does not stand up to scrutiny.
      Well in that case, it is very simple. If the value for money does not stand up to scrutiny, then let the BBC become a subscription based service. Presumably the revenue of this model would be much simpler to manage, and the vast majority of people will simply pay. Those that don’t are disconnected.
      Why should we operate a national tax for television? If the quality is so good then the subscriptions will support it. (and possibly we may get less repeats, more responsive management, and best of all, a removal of the myth of impartiality.)

      What are you afraid of?

      • rationalplan

        Exactly, make the TV channels subscription based, Radio 3 and 4 could be paid for with spare change out central funds all the other radio channels can be sold off. If the BBC is so amazing value then everyone will be happy to pay the subscription fee,

        • Bill Quango MP

          I expect that that is largely true. I would think some 85-90% of households would subscribe to the BBC.
          You have left off radio 1 or 2 which are absolubte jewels in the crown of radio. You may not like either but Radios 1 and 2 have some of the highest listener figures in the world. They would command a very high price on the market.
          Radio 4 too, but its listener figures aren’t quite as good.

          Radio 3 is the dog. The Guardian media of radio. Everyone pretends to read/listen but few actually do.

          And I totally agree. All this only means more reason to privatise it.

    • Fergus Pickering

      If the television progrmmes are so bloody good why do I never watch them?. The only stuff In watch is the stuff they have bought from abroad. There seem to be a lot of crappy property programmes.and the news is bloody dire.

  • Jen The Blue

    The BBC is disgrace……wasteful, leftist, pro-EU, anti-family and totally biased.

    It should have gone years ago but it is beloved by the establishment including Cameron’s “continuity New Labour” green Tory Party.

    • Fraziel

      yes, whatever happened to neutrality? They hate the bankers ( rightly so) but then give themselves enormous pay days, just like the bankers, except its even worse as its our money. The tories made a smart move when they froze the licence fee. Not sure privatisation would work but an extension of the licence freeze when it runs out should at least make them less wasteful and greedy

  • Sadly there is a type of journalism that perhaps sees itself as iconoclastic – but is in reality ignorant, blinkered and foolish. This is an example. No attempt at balance. Just a splenetic rant driven by the sort of simplistic black/white, good/bad gut ideology that gives the profession a bad name.

    There is a curious British inclination for some to want to hurt the thing we love. I would place the BBC close to the top of the things that make me proud to be British. And having lived abroad for long periods and travelled widely I can say without hesitation that the Corporation is the one thing I missed most when away and most looked forward to enjoying again when I got home.

    The writer of this illiterate polemic uses preposterous and frankly unworthy statements to attempt to prove his/her point that the BBC should be privatised. Let me take just one. “Sky produces some of the best Arts coverage in Britain”. Having recently watched a concert on Sky Arts during which their were advertisements between the movements of. Symphony (!) I can only say that Sky Arts does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the BBC. I would happily pay my 40p per day Licence Fee for Radio Three alone. Indeed I would pay it just for the Proms!

    When we hold the value of the BBC up against that of any other medium it is an astonishing bargain. 40 pence per day per household! That’s cheaper than “The Spectator” – and surely even the most fanatical supporter of that excellent magazine would not claim that the Speccy offers anything of the breadth and the diversity of our great National broadcaster? The cost of the BBC Licence Fee is chicken feed and the Corporation does all it can to make it painless to pay this very modest amount.

    But ideologues will always winge and rant I suppose. As ever they will use selective data and slanted opinions to make their fanatical points. In a democracy we tolerate the fact that there will be those who seek to criticise if the basis of something does not conform to their prejudice. Here it is the old chestnut of, as Orwell might have put it, “Public ownership bad, Private Enterprise good”. So Sky for which I pay £720 per year so that I can watch top sport, is better than the BBC, for which I pay £145.50! Only the utterly foolish or the unreformably blinkered would call Sky the better deal of the two!

    • Jer

      Sky Arts may have advertisements, but one of the most annoying things about the BBC is the amount of advertising. It spends hours each day advertising itself, often advertising the very channel one is listening to, or watching.

      • Cynical_Man

        So you know what to watch. It doesn’t get any commercial benefit out of this, it simply tells viewers what is on. And this probably takes 1.5 minutes at the end of an hour long programme, as opposed to 20-30 minutes on Sky.

        http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/television/average-hour-long-show-is-36-commercials-9002/

        • IanH

          It gets a massive commercial benefit out of these trailers. It means the program is the right length to be sold by the commercial arm to advert based broadcasters

      • Tony Quintus

        It’s not called advertising, it is called trailing ahead, and without it you wouldn’t know what was on, especially on the more minority interest channels. Less needed in the new digital programme guide age, but still very useful.

        • Ridcully

          I’ve heard a rumour that some wonderful things exist called “TV Guides.”

        • nickwilde

          Tony

          Have you guys at the BBC nothing to do except blog? Shouldn’t you be spending our money wisely and producing some content?

    • Tony Quintus

      Nice to see somebody finally talking sense.

    • The Meissen Bison

      I would happily pay my 40p per day Licence Fee for Radio Three alone

      Good for you – if enough people feel like you then there would be no need for the rest of us to pay for it and it could run as a subscription service.

      So Sky for which I pay £720 per year so that I can watch top sport, is better than the BBC, for which I pay £145.50! Only the utterly foolish or the unreformably blinkered would call Sky the better deal of the two!

      Again, good for you. Nobody but you can attach a value to how much either is worth to you but clearly you must consider Sky reasonable value or you wouldn’t subscribe.

      The argument isn’t about value for money which is entirely subjective but about an obligation to pay a licence fee for a now vast range of services that go well beyond the remit of public service broadcasting and which crowd out other providers and discourage potential new entrants into what is, after all, a marketplace for news and entertainment.

      • Bill Quango MP

        What if Sky dishes were compulsory by law, and the BBC was a subscription only service? Would Meisson Bison feel as comfortable with that situation?

        http://www.cityunslicker.co.uk/2013/09/make-satellite-dishes-compulsory.html

        • The Meissen Bison

          No, not remotely. What (apart from wilful wrong-headedness) could possibly prompt such a question?

          It’s neither the content nor the price but precisely the compulsion to which I object.

          • Bill Quango MP

            Apologies Bisson.
            Was a question for Mr Briggs..

          • The Meissen Bison

            Understood. Fair enough. Thanks.

    • Fergus Pickering

      My dear chap, you can pay what you want. But I don’t want to pay. Why should I have to? And don’t you think that maybe, maybe, some of the Beeb apparatchiks are overpaid. And that there are rather a lot of them.

    • Cynical_Man

      Beautifully put.

      • John McEvoy

        ‘Beautifully put’ – but still no argument why the fee should be compulsory.

    • Bigland

      It’s a bargain precisely because many who don’t want the service are forced to pay for it. We’re subsidising your entertainment. I don’t expect you to pay for what I like, nor should I have to pay for what you like.

      • You don’t listen to BBC Radio? You don’t watch BBC Television? You never visit a BBC website? Well I do agree that you are very hard done by. Its scandalous. I shall pick up the cudgels on your behalf. Deeply shocked.

        • Bigland

          Don’t listen to their radio output, don’t watch their channels and don’t visit their web sites. Is it scandalous that I don’t, or scandalous that I have to subsidise those that do in order to access the entertainment I prefer?

          • You are entitled to listen to or watch what you like. If you completely avoid the BBC I suspect that makes you unique – or very close to it. As well as very odd! But your call and I agree that in principle you should not have to pay for a service you don’t use. On the other hand I have no children but my taxes go in part to pay for education. I don’t object to that.

          • Bigland

            On the contrary, I’m only entitled to watch what I like if i pay the BBC for the privilege.

            If I’m that rare, there should be no fear in the BBC going subscription only. Yet whenever talk of scrapping the licence fee arises, someone claims we’ll end up with low quality TV, filled with adverts.

            I have sympathies with people only paying for services they use, including education. But if you’re drawing some equivalence between the education system and the BBC, I’m not the only one who is odd.

          • There is an equivalence. Any household with television has to pay the Licence Fee. That’s 97.5% of UK households – so the Licence fee is virtually a Poll Tax levied at household level. I would guess that virtually all of these TV owning households watch BBC some of the time. You claim not to (nor even to listen to BBC Radio – which is free if you don’t have a TV and included in the Licence Fee if you do). I find that perverse – but that’s your choice! I chose not to have children. But I still have pay my Councill and other taxes a fair slug of which goes to the education budget. You pay for TV you claim not to watch, I pay for schools I don’t use. That’s Life!

          • Bigland

            That the current situation is similar, I don’t dispute. But that’s no justification for allowing it to continue. It’s far easier to make the case that we all benefit from having an educated society than that we benefit from some people getting cheaper entertainment (this is coming from someone who isn’t a fan of our current education system either…).

            It’s no surprise you find it perverse – you’re convinced it’s good value for money, and can’t understand why everyone doesn’t enjoy the service. Once you can accept and respect that some (there are at least two of us!) find their output mostly reprehensible (much like some people spit while talking about the Daily Mail or Fox News), you might think differently.

    • uberwest

      If the BBC actually was a valued British institution, then ‘progressive liberals’ would want to destroy it. They only want to keep the BBC because it broadcasts their depraved insidious groupthink for them.

  • aron lipshitz

    Talk of abolishing or privatising the BBC are nonsense. Some parts of the baby can be salvaged when the bathwater is drained out. Two free-to-air TV channels, one for news and entertainment and one for “education and upliftment” could be retained and financed out of general taxation. The rest can be subscription or commercial. Radio is tougher to reform, but if Radios 1, 2 and 5 went commercial, who would notice? Local radio should be sold off or made commercial as should all of the other “services” unless they are already a profit centre.
    It would be interesting to see if the likes of Paxman could command £700,000 per year for working three days a week for an audience of less than 200,000 or if Andrew Marr could even get a job.

    • Jes79a

      If the BBC was the subject of general taxation the problem would be that it’s funding would be dependent on the government, and that would create a culture where anything the BBC did that potentially offended the government of the day would have an effect on it’s funding.
      It’s true that much of the programmes made on Radio 1 and Radio 2 could be just as easily done by the commercial sector. However, it is worth preserving the side of Radio 1 that was home to the late John Peel, and Annie Nightingale, whose shows promoted all kinds of new music talent that could not be made by the commercial sector.
      And the BBC does have a right to broadcast sporting events, so there is a case I think for keeping 5 Live in the public sector.

  • MrVeryAngry
    • Marco

      “The argument isn’t about value for money which is entirely subjective but about an obligation to pay a licence fee for a now vast range of services that go well beyond the remit of public service broadcasting and which crowd out other providers and discourage potential new entrants into what is, after all, a marketplace for news and entertainment”.

      You Daleks need to wake up and realise the market doesn’t work. Rather than pick on soft targets like the BBC why not spend your time on something significant, like taxpayer funding of the banks? Oh, of course, you probably all work for banks.

      • The Meissen Bison

        The quote you have taken is from my earlier posting so it’s unfair to accuse MrVeryAngry of being a dalek.

        While I am certainly very handy with both an egg-whisk and a plunger (but never simultaneously), I can still cope with stairs so I must regretfully admit that the appellation doesn’t entirely suit me that well either.

      • MrVeryAngry

        Au contraire my little petty shoe. Market, well, freedom and markets with the Rule of Law and sound money work exceptionally well. What does not work, anywhere or at any time is the morally and economic bankrupt philosophy that is socialsim – in all its forms from Russian communism to German National Socialism.
        The problem for the UK is that we have a corrupted version of markets, Blairite ‘third way’, which is essentially crony capitalistic Fabianism.

  • Felix Hemsted

    an idea of how to reform the BBC (if not outright privatisation):
    1. All license fees go to the treasury
    2. The BBC will not get this money (aside from a 1 month advance for cash flow purposes) until a committee of politicians and journalists from across the political divide deem it to be ‘impartial and value for money’.
    3. Anyone who has worked for / paid by the bbc in the past 10 years will be ineligible to sit on the committee. Similarly, anyone who is on the committee is barred from taking up a BBC post for 5 years.

    4. The committee will have the power to withhold a proportion of the license fee if it deems that savings, such as cancelling excessive pay-offs, can be made.

  • Redrose82

    The one thing I hold against Margaret Thatcher is that she failed to privatise this cosy home of overpaid socialists.

  • george

    Dear BBC
    you are the weakest link, you’re fired, you dont have the x factor.
    dont let the door hit you on the ass on the the way out.
    bye

  • starfish

    If the BBC did not exist would anyone seriously consider creating it today?

    • Jes79a

      If the monarchy did not exist would you invent it today?

      • starfish

        A somewhat cryptic response equating the monarchy to the BBC

        The BBC provides nothing unique we seem to have great difficulty letting go of organisations that are well past their sell by date

        • Jes79a

          Some would say the same thing about the crown. I don’t agree them but there you are.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Send in Dick Barton Special Agent, Jock and Snowy and PIAT the lot of them.

    • Ric Spooner

      PIAT shows your vintage..

      • terence patrick hewett

        Puts me in the majority then.

  • Cynical_Man

    Utterly predictable from the Spectator, and utterly and miserably philistinism.

    Before you put a death wish on the BBC – an incredibly successful organisation, and one which demonstrates how inept the private sector is at broadcasting – consider these few things.

    Do you:

    Visit the BBC Proms? ‘the world’s largest and most democratic classical music festival’
    Watch David Attenborough’s natural history programmes?
    Listen to any music played by the BBC’s 5 (yes 5) orchestras?
    Listen to Radio 4, or 6 Music, or the Asian Network, or Radio 3? All well regarded and respected channels.
    Appreciate TV without adverts?
    Use the BBC News website?Watch any of the BBC’s dramas? Bleak House? Pride & Prejudice? Life on Mars? Dr. Who? etc. etc.
    Have ever been to a music festival which is partly funded by the BBC? Glastonbury?
    Appreciate the ‘soft power’ available to us, thanks to the BBC World Service?
    Listen to Test Match Special, or 5 Live?

    The BBC is the world’s largest and most respected broadcaster. It doesn’t always get it right, but it is a priceless national institution, and the product of an earlier and apparently more enlightened age – it would never be approved now. It got us through the Second World War’s darkest hours, and is one of the few things that binds us as a nation. It is the guardian of British culture. It is attacked only by those who have vested interests in its demise – the SNP, Rupert Murdoch & News International, and oddly some Conservative MPs.

    It’s almost impossible to imagine modern British life without it. If it were privatised, sold off, broken up, obliterated, I would definitely move abroad, and probably contempt suicide.

    • Collamore

      So “Cynical,” since you seem happy to have the government take your money, will you push for a law forcing people to subsidize other forms of entertainment as well? book writers? sports teams? Mimes? Bagpipe music?
      If you don’t, I’ll label YOU a “philistine”.

      • Cynical_Man

        Almost worth ignoring the hyperbole in your question; of course I wouldn’t. But you are not comparing like with like. The BBC is an institution which has a broad and diverse cultural output, since its remit is to educate and entertain the nation. I feel it does this rather well, as any trip to France, Germany or the USA will show; they all wish they had something like the BBC.

        Yes I am happy for the government to take my money when I see world-beating results that are the envy of many a nation. Why wouldn’t I be? At £150 a year I think its bloody good value for money to get more TV than I could ever watch, more festivals/events/proms I could ever go to, more channels across more formats than I could ever process simultaneously, and a facility (iPlayer) which allows me to do just that, if there were enough hours in the day….

        • nickwilde

          Hyperbole in his post? I suggest you re-read the last para of your own. I value the BBC in many ways but I am truly sick of its institutional, political bias and of the bloated salaries it pays its hugely overstaffed bureacracy.

          • Cynical_Man

            It’s hyperbolic because I wish I could do all of those things – but alas work doesn’t allow it.

            I agree with you in some ways, but I disagree that it is politically biased. Considering that absolute objectivity is impossible, the BBC does pretty well by most standards. Perhaps, ironically, not the most balanced arbiter, but here is the NS’s view on it:

            http://www.newstatesman.com/broadcast/2013/08/hard-evidence-how-biased-bbc

            And yes, a disgrace about its high paying salaries. Yet it is only doing this because it has to compete with the private sector for talent, and wages there have rocketed across all industries in the last decade. What we should blame is a telescoping of the top rate of income tax; a 70% rate on salaries over £500,000 would soon sort that out. Not politically paletable for Osborne, however.

        • Anat T.

          What makes you think that those who work for the BBC are in any way equipped to educate you? who appointed them to tell you what to think?
          If by ‘educate’ you just mean ‘inform’, that’s different. But on this front, the BBC are far from best. If you spend some time comparing news outlets on the internet, you will see this for yourself.

    • Bill Quango MP

      In all honesty …no.
      I don’t watch any of those program’s. match of the day is about all the BBC I do watch. The occasional QI. The news.
      Radio 2 and 5 get a fair amount of time, but on the whole my BBC viewing is under 8 hours a week. C4 .more 4 E4 gets more than that.
      Itv gets a lot less.

      The real issue here is my family, including the children, barely watch normal TV at all. It’s online, interactive, digital downloads and box sets.
      Apple TV and Netflix.

      It’s a strange transition. But TV is a tiny part of daily leisure now. I would have thought that unlikely even two years ago. But suddenly we just stopped watching it. And often it doesn’t get turned on at all day.
      Two friends,both with families, not Eco hippies or middle class harridans , they have no TV set.

      I used to think it strange. But they said they had laptops and a portable DVD player so had no need and no TV licence.

      • Cynical_Man

        Here too, the BBC is leading the way. iPlayer started in 2007, and other broadcasters followed suit, following the BBC’s innovation. It trialed the use of HDTV with Planet Earth – the first series filmed entirely in high definition. And a new HD format was used for the 2012 Olympics, during which the BBC became the first Olympic broadcaster to broadcast every sport live.

        They may watch things on Netflix, but what are they watching? I’d imagine much of it is BBC content. The action of watching TV may be a smaller part, but that doesn’t mean we use any less BBC content – it is just accessed in a different format.

        I bet you watched the BBC’s election coverage with David Dimbleby? Or switch over to BBC News during a national event or crisis? The other broadcasters hemorrhage viewers at these times (such as Diana’s death), since the BBC is a national institution.

        I know several people without TV licences. Most have never had one, or not owned one for years. They chose not to fund the BBC in that way, but instead pick the programmes they like and buy them on DVD, funding the BBC through its worldwide division.

        • Bill Quango MP

          I dont believe there is much BBc content there at all.
          i just checked the Kids picks on Netflix – They are aged 4 and 10.

          Nickelodeon and disney channel are the main ones. Then star wars clone wars, which i don’t know who makes but its not bbc. Then spiderman. Cbeebies gets 1 program sailor somone.

          My last viewing – Game of thrones 1 + 2 . big bang theory. IT crowd. Father Tted – Downton Abbey, Madmen , House of Cards and Rome and the Tudors, which are BBC/HBO . And red dwarf. Mind you red dwarf was a 25 years old episode…so..?
          BBc is not the main viewing. It is , as I said earlier, about 10% at best. And I don’t have Sky.

          The BBC/HBO model is excellent and only goes to prove what a privatised BBc could achieve.

          Mrs Q has watched almost nothing. A cooking show on 4 and channel 4 news.

          I am of the view that if the BBc was privatised some 90% of viewers would remain. The BBc would then cut 10% waste which any privatised indutry could do without even trying. And they would be free to do whatever they like. Pay what they like . Say what they like. Show what they like.

          Privatisation people on this thread are assuming the BBC would just end. Of course it wouldn’t , for all the reasons that its supporters suggest. But a compulsory entertainment service is just so outdated today.

          Why would a private BBC fail when a public BBC is the greatest thing in human history?

        • Bedsit_Bob

          Cynical_Man “They chose not to fund the BBC in that way, but instead pick the programmes they like and buy them on DVD”

          So they’re paying for what they’re watching. What’s the problem with that?

          You wouldn’t expect someone to buy a Rod Licence, to eat fish they bought from a fishmonger, would you?

      • Bedsit_Bob

        Bill Quango MP says “It’s a strange transition. But TV is a tiny part of daily leisure now. ”

        It’s absolutely no part of mine.

        It is perfectly possible to live your life, without ANY broadcast TV.

    • andagain

      BBC – an incredibly successful organisation

      If it is so great as all that why do people have to be compelled to give it money under threat of imprisonment?

    • John Clegg

      You would definitely move abroad; off you go then and take that b…dy David Attenborough with you.

    • The Meissen Bison

      There’s so much here to examine. Taking it bit by bit:
      Before you put a death wish on the BBC – an incredibly successful organisation…
      How are we measuring success here? The BBC is hugely privileged and protected in the market in which it operates with a vast income from almost every household in the land. It must be quite hard not to be successful with those ground rules.

      Do you:
      Visit the BBC Proms? ‘the world’s largest and most democratic classical music festival’

      What has democracy got to do with classical music festivals? I think the gist here is that the licence fee subsidises the proms so hooray. But that’s arguably a job for government and should not be funded by a licence fee payer in, say, Glasgow.

      Watch David Attenborough’s natural history programmes?
      No, though I’m sure they are excellent. Indeed if they were excellent and I liked that kind of thing, I could buy it, no?

      Listen to any music played by the BBC’s 5 (yes 5) orchestras?
      Nope, I’m waiting for Alan Rusbridger’s first CD

      Listen to Radio 4
      … in tiny doses only and not when I’m driving…
      , or 6 Music, or the Asian Network, or Radio 3? All well regarded and respected channels.
      …you want ’em, you pay for ’em. This is not public service broadcasting, this is salve for metropolitan, middle class values. I’ve nothing against the tastes being catered to here, I just object to them being on the bill. The budget of these things is a drop in the ocean, of course…

      Appreciate TV without adverts?
      Well I quite like adverts but then that’s just me. TV with adverts is free to watch but, yes, yes, the cost of the advertising is built into the price of the products we buy so we pay for it in the end. Vorsprung durch Technik

      Use the BBC News website?
      Are you joking? Do I buy The Guardian?
      Watch any of the BBC’s dramas? Bleak House? Pride & Prejudice? Life on Mars? Dr. Who? etc. etc.
      Some. And the BBC does a lot of this well. It also used to be good at taking risks with what today would be called ‘niche’ programmes. No longer: Monty Python could whistle.

      Have ever been to a music festival which is partly funded by the BBC? Glastonbury?
      As above, the BBC subsidising festivals should be outside their remit. Paying for broadcasting rights of a popular event is a job for the commercial sector.

      Appreciate the ‘soft power’ available to us, thanks to the BBC World Service?
      The World Service is sadly a shadow of what it once was. It’s probably an anachronism now. I used to travel extensively with a short wave receiver to pick up news but technology has overtaken SW and today a lot of the voices are hard to understand.

      Listen to Test Match Special, or 5 Live?
      No, but are these broadcasting icons?

      The BBC is the world’s largest and most respected broadcaster. It doesn’t always get it right, but it is a priceless national institution…
      …a bit like the NHS, then?
      …and the product of an earlier and apparently more enlightened age – it would never be approved now. It got us through the Second World War’s darkest hours, and is one of the few things that binds us as a nation. It is the guardian of British culture. It is attacked only by those who have vested interests in its demise – the SNP, Rupert Murdoch & News International, and oddly some Conservative MPs.
      …imagine the soundtrack…

      It’s almost impossible to imagine modern British life without it. If it were privatised, sold off, broken up, obliterated, I would definitely move abroad…
      Definitely?
      and probably contempt
      contempt? Really?
      suicide.
      How awful.

    • John McEvoy

      “… and probably contempt suicide.” (sic)
      You’ve been watching so much telly you haven’t learned basic English.

      • Cynical_Man

        Sorry, consider suicide. I see you’d rather criticise style than substance.

    • NoItIsn’t

      “The BBC is the world’s largest and most respected broadcaster.”

      Actually, it isn’t. It isn’t respected after the string of recent scandals. It is in disgrace.

      It is “a priceless national institution”…”It’s almost impossible to imagine modern British life without it.”

      Jingoistic claptrap.

      Do you “appreciate TV without adverts?”.

      This really is nonsense. BBC output on radio and television is infested with constant promos – adverts for its own output – sometimes four or five between every programme. About five percent of all airtime is taken up with this infuriating obsession.

      And by the way the world’s largest broadcaster is not the BBC it is China Central Television which by comparison dwarfs the BBC.

      • Cynical_Man

        “Actually, it isn’t. It isn’t respected after the string of recent scandals. It is in disgrace.”

        It has taken a battering, but it is still more respected than, for example, News International.

        “Jingoistic claptrap.”

        My comment wasn’t especially war-like was it? It’s a national institution, one to which millions of people use every day. Other than the NHS, is there anything like it?

        “This really is nonsense. BBC output on radio and television is infested with constant promos – adverts for its own output sometimes four or five between every programme. About five percent of all airtime is taken up with this infuriating obsession.”

        5% is better than 36% isn’t it? And besides, that’s one of the ways it promotes its content, and we as consumers of it find out about other programmes that we like to watch. That’s a good idea, isn’t it?

        http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/television/average-hour-long-show-is-36-commercials-9002/

        “And by the way the world’s largest broadcaster is not the BBC it is China Central Television which by comparison dwarfs the BBC.”

        Not according to Wikipedia:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Broadcasting_Corporation

  • AamirK

    The BBC’s philosophy has been that it unless it goes everywhere – into all kinds of music, sport, culture etc – it will not be serving the whole nation and so cannot justify charging a licence fee to the whole nation. How ironic, then, that while paying lip service to this approach it has simply ignored the views of the entire right-leaning part of the nation.

  • Richard Webb

    BBC

  • Samuel Jackson

    If the BBC was shut down tomorrow it would be really interesting to see what the hidden ongoing pension liabilities would be. They have a massive deficit, which they’re not bothered about cos like lots of Public Sector organisations, it’s guaranteed by the tax payer, regardless of the licence fee existing. And no one’s looking when they award each other huge pensions. Alan Yentob’s pension pot is reputably over £6million. A man who has never taken a personal financial risk. ‘Looters’ these top managers.

  • THE DETECTOR VANS ARE EMPTY.

    (Read my lips.)

    Most of the court-victims come from the inarticulate (and deliberately dis-educated) masses, created on purpose by the same gramscoFabiaNazis that staff and perpetuate the BBC. They don’t realise that the detector-van-staff have no warrant to enter, need not be let in, and cannot argue if stopped. Thius the poor bastards (usually bastardettes) are caught red-handed with the telly on in the front room….so they go to court.

    It is utterly obvious that these poor wretched people have been and are watching the telly. What else can the poor bastards do in life?

    I am a “radio ham”. My call sign is M3LBG, and I am a member of the Radio Society of Great Britain. Listen: there is //nothing inside// modern digital TVs that can radiate a signal characteristic of specicially a receiving “wireless-tele-vision” itself – even as opposed to a laptop or desktop PC – that can be used in court as evidence of “unlawfully receiving TV broadcast transmissions”. Even if it could, we’re talking nanowatts per square metre, which can’t be picked up outside in a street: it’s even less than the rotten 02 signal your iPhone (fails to pick) up (badly) in Aughton, Lancs. You’d be lucky even to detect anything in streets in Preston up the road from me, where the front room of the houses effectively walls onto the roadway.

    All people in the UK should:-
    (1) refuse to pay the BBC “licence fee” any more,
    (2) refuse to let in the wall-eyed-goons and drones who pretend to “enforce detection”.

    That will solve the problem once and for all.

    • Chris Morriss

      A GB call sign of M3LBG? Surely not. Perhaps an anagram?

    • Bedsit_Bob

      David Davis says “Thus the poor bastards (usually bastardettes) are caught red-handed with the telly on in the front room….so they go to court.”

      In some cases they’re not caught watching live TV.

      They’re either lied to, as in “You need a licence to watch DVDs”, or they’re asked to “Just sign this to confirm I’ve called”.

  • Jes79a

    I’m sorry but the Spectator is wrong.
    Privatise the BBC and we would be losing something very precious and important in our national life.

    Yes it does have many flaws; it does have a benign centre left bias, but any institution that annoys Stewart Lee by employing Jeremy Clarkson and employs Melanie Philips as a regular panelist on the Moral Maze can hardly be said to be sething nest of Marxist vipers.
    Much of the argument against the BBC runs thus “why should I pay for something I don’t like?” Well, we have to pay for a lot things we do not like. Am I entitled to boycott paying my taxes because I object to them going on funding for the royal family if I am a dieheard anti-monarchist like the Daily Mirror’s Brian Reade or Dennis Skinner? Or boycott them because I may object to them going on wars in Afghanistan ? Or if they go on something I object to in Tate Modern (which is also part government funded)? There are many things we do like that are tax payer funded (as a royalist I’m happy for my tax money to go on royal state affairs, but people who would argue that they were entitled to boycott paying taxes over refusal to pay for an unelected royal family are no different morally to people like Charles Moore).

    If Charles Moore thinks the BBC was guilty of ‘gross violation of its charter’ by broadcasting obscene phone calls made by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand to the former Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs, he should remember that the BBC was guilty of something much worse back in 1977 when the late Manchester comedian Bernard Manning appeared on the Parkinson show against a backdrop of heightened support for the National Front and reduced the host to fits of laughter with the following joke ‘I believe all the Catholics and Jews and Protestants and Methodists should all get together and attack the Pakistani’.

    • NotYouNotSure

      Arguing that you are forced to pay for other things that you don’t like does not make being forced to pay for the BBC any better.

  • Jes79a

    One thing we should remember is the market, for there is to be said for it, is an inperfect preserver of heritage or minority interests. Could the commercial sector support something like BBC 6 Music, a digital radio station that promotes new musical talent? Or Radio 3 or 4? Or the World Service? As Boris Johnson, one of the few Conservative commentators with a sensible view of the BBC wrote in an article about Last Night of the Proms “I suppose it might be so funded. But then again it might not be. Civilisations can decline. Culture decays. The market is an imperfect preserver of heritage. There are many moments in history when human beings have lost the understanding of some great art form, and in some cases lost it for centuries. I want our children, my children, to know and appreciate the Ode to Joy not because it has been admired by every eccentric and demagogue from Hitler to Ian Smith (who made it the national anthem of Rhodesia) to the authors of the Lisbon Treaty on European Union.”

    I freely concede that there is a case for abolishing the BBC website as an unfair to newspaper competition in this country.
    But regarding a leftist pro-EU bias, if we are to close down the BBC for pro-European bias, pray, what about the Conservative party for entering the EU in 1973, signing the Single European Act of 1985 and entering the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1989?
    Food for thought.

    • NotYouNotSure

      “The market is an imperfect preserver of heritage”, I fail to see how this is so. If the only way to preserve something like classical music is to force people to pay for it, is that a heritage you can sincerely defend ? I find it very hard to conceive that Ode to Joy will disappear, if it really did, it would likely be doing of a leftist state organ like the BBC rather than because it could not longer be bought on Apple itunes.

  • NotYouNotSure

    Saving the BBC is a far deeper problem than merely privatising it. All TV companies will increasingly lose more viewers as newer alternatives such as Youtube gain ever more viewers. Before someone dismisses this as techno fantasy hogwash, do some research on how much TV the younger generations watch compared to the alternatives, and what the future growth of those will be. Private or Public, I think the BBC will end, and I can’t say I would feel sorry for that Marxist relic.

  • JWil42

    It s easy to say don’t pay your licence, but some people do not want to break the law.
    Also it is difficult to do non-payment en mass because everyone pays at different times.
    It should be done by a large number of people complaining either through the BBC complaints department or to the government, their or MP, or even to the Trust, although I do not have much faith in the first and the last suggestions.
    Apart from the obvious financial indiscretions of the BBC it should be noted by those living south of the border, who will have no opportunity to see it, that BBC Scotland are engaged in a propaganda and a misinformation exercise to discredit the present Scottish government in order to manipulate the referendum vote. Also, their political section is stuffed with people with connections to the Labour Party.

    • chris cranmer

      If you watch tv out of real time on a pc you dont need a license.
      You can plug the computer in to your tv and the beeb can bite upon it.
      Just untune the tv from bbc channels.
      They have to prove in court you were receiving bbc in real time.
      Ignore the small print about owning equipment, its not legally enforceable.

      • JWil42

        It’s a good suggestion and it would be a solution for me if I was a hermit, but it wouldn’t suit my wife or anyone else staying with us. It would probably be an impossible task for many others too.

        It may also motivate the government into tightening up the law if they saw mass reductions in license applications.

  • Perseus Slade

    The dog is not listening to its master’s voice
    biting the hand that feeds it
    seems to be mad
    needs to be but down

    soon

  • george

    Ah, the BBC and its bruiser neck-brain, TVL. After an outrageous level of highly insinuating, insulting, and threatening printed intimidation, I decided to fight back in my best American style. (For best American style, see Clint Eastwood when he’s full of the joys of spring. Or: as the pentagonal sign says in front of a home in my neighbourhood: THIS HOUSE PROTECTED BY SMITH AND WESSON, with a dictionary picture of the relevant firearm). I told TVL to stay away from my property unless it wished, in the words of my American friend, ‘to put government agents in my living room for claiming to have no interest in Coronation Street‘. I also told TVL that I would not accept someone claiming to be from that agency over the threshold, not only because I did not watch broadcast TV (a premise that they evidently found suspect, though it was true), but also because in Chicago where I had recently lived, a man with official claims who was actually a rapist barged into innocent people’s homes. Unless I can tell your operative from a potential rapist, I said, you ain’t coming in.

    We never heard from them again.

  • derekemery

    Both the Lib Dems and Labour are left wing. Therefore an overtly left wing BBC is exactly what they want and will support as a competition-free cost plus service pushing their agenda. You cannot change this as the BBC recruits based on political affiliation to keep out those who are not guardian readers and therefore who will not be on-song with the BBC high level staff left wing beliefs.

    Howsoever the BBC approach will cost them as the rely on public support and very few today are as strongly left wing as the BBC. Many are political atheist today

    See http://www.freepress.net/sites/default/files/stn-legacy/public-media-and-political-independence.pdf
    to quote
    Second, public media seem to be strongest when citizens feel that media are responsive to them rather than to politicians or advertisers (i.e., when they are truly “public”).

    The trend is towards reducing the costs support and size of public broadcasting in many parts of the world. That is inevitable in the UK as due to ageing demographic the huge size of today’s public sector will become increasingly unaffordable. UK political policy has been to dump huge debts on the next generation to maintain the lifestyle today. That will not work as the ratio of retired to working rises endlessly. The political class have their heads in the sand at the moment but this is a structural problem that will not go away. The whole EU will become a giant and burgeoning rest home supported by a dwindling workforce.

  • rtj1211

    So you are saying that UK media should be dominated by:

    1. A non-UK publisher.
    2. One who has negotiated shameful tax advantages for decades through improper political access to UK Prime Ministers.
    3. One who uses electronic surveillance breaking all standards of decency and probity?
    4. One whose stooges corrupt police officers to pervert the course of justice, particluarly where senior executives of the publishers’ company is concerned?

    The person who wrote this piece is so morally, deranged, so lacking in basic principles as to be a joke of the worst order.

    My view is that the death penalty should be introduced for the following categories:

    1. Journalists who promote tax avoidance by their publishers.
    2. Journalists who wish all of the UK to be owned by foreigners.
    3. Editors who promote the interests of foreign nationals in countries which have stringent media laws preventing ownership by foreigners.

    I could draw up a list of 250 hangings in UK journalism according to those criteria. In the ‘golden age’ that you guys hark back to those offences would constitute treason.

    Are you so off with the fairies that you think that your attitudes aren’t repugnant to the UK public????

    WELL??????

    • Druth

      Murdoch being wrong (apparently) doesn’t make the BBC right. You need to stop arguing like an eight year old.

    • Gareth

      What Murdoch lacks is proper competition. The existence of the BBC is both a barrier to that and by far the best placed entity to give Murdoch a run for his money. It is a separate and separately funded part of the industry so doesn’t compete directly with Sky but being so large it also prevents any competitors to Sky from getting a foothold on the market.

      We should stop tying both the BBC’s hands behind its back with the charter requirement to be impartial and the prohibition on advertising, letting the BBC compete on an equal footing. This would require abolishing the licence fee and having the BBC regulated like any other media organisation.

  • greggf

    I said something to this effect years ago before the the Times’ paywall on Oliver Kamm’s Blog: the BBC should be broken up and privatized, one bit may be an official government outlet.

  • Druth

    Should get Barry to send the BBC a thousand intercontinental ballistic missile ‘warning’ for killing all those poor people. Oh sorry it’s not the BBC that’s killing people, of course that’s the NHS. The BBC is the excrescence with all the political nepotism, bias reporting and wall to wall paedophiles that they force us to pay for under duress.

  • A. F. Brooke

    ‘It is a bureaucracy, designed for the 1930s, which has somehow made it to the 21st century.’

    The expression of incredulity is a bit rich; the BBC hasn’t somehow managed to slumber its way into the twenty-first century. It is without doubt the gold-standard of television programming, be it drama, news, or documentaries.

    It is indeed quite convenient to make incorrigible beasts out of bureaucracies, even though all of the British government is made up of centuries-old bureaucracies, and they all do become annoying at one time or another–but the idea that they tread down a permanent path of monstrosity is irresponsible thinking.

    So what’s the solution? Privatisation of course. Soon, the BBC would become just another TV channel, and the UK TV landscape barely different from the multiplying, negligible American TV landscape. Of course, then one may not find anything problematic with dismal American broadcasting, which fares quite miserably except for a few on-demand drama channels.

    But, the broader point, this is yet another manifestation of the radical nature of modern conservatism. Good, destroy one common denominator after another.

  • Gareth

    “It is odd in many ways that in 30 years of privatisations, many of them very successful, the BBC has hardly been mentioned as a candidate. It is high time this option was properly discussed.”

    If privatisation is the answer then it should be given to licence fee payers as a reward for funding it. Not sold. Given. Convert every licence into 100 shares in the BBC and let people get on with doing whatever they want with their share of what they have invested in and supported.

    Institutional investors hoovering up shares would then see their money going into our pockets for us to waste rather than into the Treasury for the government to waste.

    • Bedsit_Bob

      JWil42 says “It s easy to say don’t pay your licence, but some people do not want to break the law. ”

      It’s perfectly possible to stop paying the licence fee, and not break the law.

      I’ve been doing it for nearly 4 years.

      • chris cranmer

        I have only bought 1 yrs worth in my life and i am 45.

  • Bob

    “This claim never been harder to sustain”???? At least BBC journalists write most sentences in English.

    • george

      All writers leave intended words out sometimes. Typos happen.

      • Bob

        All ‘shoddy’ writers leave intended words out sometimes.

        • george

          I wouldn’t be so moralistic about it. You never make mistakes?

          • Bob

            It was just an observation that there seem to be fewer ‘typos’ in BBC articles than private publications like the Spectator. It seemed particularly careless to me when it is a journalist attacking other journalists. Nothing to do with morals.

          • george

            BBC can afford the team of typo-monkeys and spelling-lemurs, can’t it?

          • Bob

            Exactly

    • Henry Morgan

      Perhaps a new public body – the English Language Standards Commission could be set up to create a new public servant (with office) to oversee all private and public bodies, ensuring grammatical accuracy is of the highest order. Perhaps modelled on the http://www.plainenglish.co.uk campaign. Thank you Spectator – message understood and agreed with.

  • mikewaller

    If you want a close approximation to civil war, try it. Easy enough to get a crowd of Specie readers to puff out their little chests and cheer, but to millions of folk like me the BBC, for all its faults, represents our only bulwark against the horrors of the American Media spreading over here. It can be wasteful as shown by the shameful episode of the megabucks pay offs which require Chris Patten to resign whatever his role in it was. However, a piece like the one above should come with a declaration of interest along the following lines:

    “The owners of this magazine are among a tiny group of media proprietors who wield influence in the UK out of all proportion to their number. They would expect to benefit hugely from the privatisation of the BBC by (a) seeing the elimination of a doughty competitor; (b) securing the most lucrative elements of its activities; (c) silencing an outlook challenging to their particular world view.”

    Indeed, failure to include such a declaration strikes me as dishonest. After all, he who pays the piper….

  • Henry Morgan

    Public bodies compared to imperialism. The BBC is a sickening behemoth that fails in its fundamental mission. Advertising and public service announcements suffice. It is time for the Imperialism of the BBC and other nationalised services to be ended for the benefit of a free market and freedom in general. 700 people a day taken to court by a public service!? Is that in the public’s interest? I feel a revolution coming.

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    How to save the BBC? Privatise it. No, we need an independent state broadcasting institution. One should moralise it, put borax in the tee and remove “Playboy” from the library.

    • Bedsit_Bob

      Terence Hale says “One should moralise it, put borax in the tee and remove “Playboy” from the library.”

      I don’t think poisoning people is the answer.

    • democracygone

      Independent!!!!!!!!!!!! – what dream world do you live in!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • M. Wenzl

    The BBC making losses vs. putting up with adverts? Hmmm

  • Владимир

    Nevertheless, the office fires by 2000 people each year

  • andyfisk

    The BBC represents great value for money. I despair at some of the matters such as oversized wages instead of paying for more researchers that could then nail those in power to the wall. But the idea that privatised media will improve the media is a nonsense. The Telegraph and the Spectator are both owned by tax exiles who would love to get their grubby hands on the various arms of the BBC not least of all BBC Worldwide.

    Targeting this part of the BBC certainly makes sense to the free market mindset because it is the commercial arm of the BBC whose mission it is to maximise profits ‘by creating, acquiring, developing and exploiting media content and media brands
    around the world.’ Indeed BBC Worldwide is thought by investors to have a
    turnover of £1 Billion a year, profits from which get channeled back into the
    BBC. There is no need for this to be privatised of course, except for the sole
    reason of handing money that would otherwise benefit a public resource into the
    hands of a private company.

    All hail the Barclays Brothers and their tax avoidance that will save the BBC.

    • democracygone

      Okay so the BBC makes money – therefore privatise it so that we the people don’t have to fund its existence and we can ‘switch’ it off without feeling that we are not getting our money’s worth.

  • The_greyhound

    “An organisation of such quality and global reputation”

    The writer evidently gets a different BBC from the one available here. Mine is utter garbage, indistinguishable from the rubbish broadcast by the commercial stations.

    I shouldn’t want to save it : scrap the license fee, and here’s hoping the BBC’s employees starve.

  • j lindsay harper

    The BBC is an anacronism .

  • Ironic, as The Guardian is thinking of dropping the print edition!

  • chris cranmer

    This bloated leech applied by law will die soon enough.
    Watch all tv via a computer,and not in realtime. This free’s up your life from political propaganda;
    and raises your expectation of the word ‘Entertainment’.
    People go home after work, turn the television on, and are mind aneasthetised with ‘neighbours’ etc, then whilst semi concious suck in the ‘news’ as truth while their wits are absent. This is such a blatant psych tool it should be banned.
    ‘Shows’ as diverse in mediocrity as strictly come dancing and the great British bake off fill the airwaves with no expense spent and yet more expectations dumbed down.
    The BBC contributes more to the brainwashing of every UK citizen than any regime
    ever did in other countries, and its time to lose it.
    DONT PAY THE BILL !
    There are 1000’s of hrs of decent entertainment to suit any taste on demand and free on sites such as primewire.ag without the political spin.
    You wont look back.

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