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This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Saturday, 12 October 2019

Fresh Calls to Replace BBC TV Licence with Subscription Model

An influential think tank has made fresh calls for the replacement of the BBC TV licence fee with a subscription model.

New Vision - Transforming the BBC into a Subscriber-Owned Mutual, written by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Senior Academic Fellow Professor Philip Booth, argues that the justifications for state intervention in broadcasting used by Government, Ofcom, and the BBC are outdated and do not reflect present-day society or technology.

The report argues that the BBC's audience is becoming increasingly narrow, with a boom in subscription and on-demand services and a variety of perceived BBC biases. That being the case the current BBC funding model, which requires TV viewers to fund the BBC via the purchase of a TV licence, is a modern day anachronism and not fit for purpose.

Booth proposes a new ownership model - based on recognisable and popular institutions like The Co-Operative or the National Trust - which remove the obligation to purchase a TV licence.

Under the new system the BBC would be funded by subscription payments. The new organisation, which Booth suggests might be called the National Broadcasting Trust (NBT), would be owned collectively by its subscribers. Those subscribers would be responsible for electing members to the NBT's governing board and shaping the future direction of NBT policy and creative output.

It is a brilliantly simple idea - the people who consume the NBT pay for the NBT; no-one else is pestered or coerced into paying for a service they don't need or want.

Booth also suggests that he BBC should lose its legal privileges and be treated in the same way as all other news and media organisations for competition and other purposes.

Sadly, the concept of a subscriber-owned national broadcaster is vehemently opposed by the BBC. As we have said many times before, the BBC will fight to the death to protect its beloved TV licence fee - its annual £3.8bn hit received by divine right, irrespective of however woeful its output, sordid its scandal or incompetent its financial management.

The TV licence is effectively a poll tax that every viewer has to pay, irrespective of the channel they decide to watch. Knowing how deeply unpopular the TV licence was, the BBC used the advent of digital broadcasting to bury any alternative funding model for a generation.

Freeview came into being in 2002. It was a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, BSkyB and transmitter operator Arqiva.

Greg Dyke, who was the BBC Director General between 2000 and his resignation in 2004, was one of the key players in the development of the new technology. He was adamant that Freeview should be cheap, simple and available to as many people as possible.

If Freeview had introduced "smart" digital receivers, with the ability to block out those channels people hadn't paid for, then you can be fairly confident that viewers would have argued that the TV licence, which exclusively funds BBC services, was obsolete.

The BBC wanted to avoid that situation at all costs, because people would then have the option of refusing to pay for its services. Given recent scandal at the Corporation, you can be fairly confident that millions of viewers would have stopped paying if given the option.

Dyke realised that if the market was flooded with cheap "dumb" digital receivers, which lacked the ability to block television signals from individual users, then it would be virtually impossible to establish some sort of BBC subscription model later on.

In response to the IEA report, a BBC spokesman said: "Used by over 90 percent of the public every week, most people, including most politicians agree that the BBC is now more important than ever as a bulwark against fake news and misinformation, and as the biggest investor in original British programmes that the public love.

"The licence fee is by far the most popular way of funding the BBC among the public."

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1 comment:

Terminator said...

The BBC could do like NOW TV and put its channels on a STB that you pay £15 for and then subscribe to their channels month by month, no minimum period or paying double for 6 months then half for however long the person subscribes. This model could have being done in 2000 and the whole network of BBC channels put on the STB leaving others free to watch the other channels if they so wished.