I’ve been following the ‘debate’ on Twitter about the possible scraping of the BBC License Fee and making the BBC a subscription service. It’s been quite interesting weeding through the ignorant crap to find the intelligent comment. I have always felt that many people (myself included) don’t really know how far and where all the tendrils extend but I have also felt that like with any non-commercial cantered organisation, it is likely over staffed and mildly inefficient and archaic in its ways – and I think this is so with the BBC.
How people access their media entertainment has vastly changed, the style, genre and quality of media has dramatically changed – not all for the better. Statistics and research shows that the under 30’s are not sitting watching tv in general, or the BBC in particular, live as it airs but tending to pick and choose via the iPlayer on their smart tv’s and mobile devices. But they are still accessing BBC tv, however it is all the other branches of the organisation that are getting overlooked when people are questioned about it.
It stands to reason that people will only comment on the area of the corporation they access, that’s the only bit they know. So what of the BBC do I regularly access.
- BBC tv, admittedly I don’t watch as much as I used to, but I do watch numerous dramas series whether it’s weekly ones like Holly City, serial dramas like Peaky Blinders, or one off dramas like the Christine Keeler story; several quiz shows fun ones like Richard Osman’s House Of Card and impossible ones like Only Connect; a lot of the tennis especially Wimbledon; and films. I watch things live as well as via the iPlayer.
- BBC radio. I listen to The Archers each week, and often listen to panel games, comedies and dramas on BBC Sounds. I used to listen to BBC2 daily when I spent mornings at my desk but it’s a habit that has been broken. As a child it was the local BBC station we had on for news, weather, traffic, to hear if my school was closed on snow days, etc.
- BBCNews. Generally I tend to avoid the news but I do tend to watch my local BBC programme most nights, and tend to catch the BBC headlines. I find the delivery (if not the content) less sensationalised. I will often peruse the website for info, but find the content dated compared to some news sites.
Making the BBC a commercially motivated business will have an impact on the quantity, quality and variety of out put. It was interesting to read via some tweets areas that didn’t immediately spring to mind, such as The Proms and national and local orchestra funding, children’s tv, the nature and history out put, local news and magazine interest reports both local tv and radio, the publications available, these kinds of areas that cannot stand alone as viable businesses but can collectively support each other.
What I didn’t realise until today was that about half of my license fee covers salaries and pensions – that is staggering.
What worries me is how any change would affect what’s freely available, how much content would be lost, how it will significantly narrow what is produced being lead by what cheap to make and easy to mass sell.