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How should the BBC be funded?

10:51 UK time, Monday, 2 August 2010

The television licence fee is "obsolete and unfair" and should be replaced with a voluntary subscription service for certain programming, a report says. Do you agree?

The growing use of the internet for viewing has made licensing TV sets outdated, according to right-wing think tank the Adam Smith Institute. The report singles out the success of Sky with its subscription model, adding that the BBC could have "the global presence of a Hollywood studio but with a wider range of output".

A BBC Trust spokeswoman said BBC funding was a matter for government. Negotiations between the BBC and the government on the next licence fee settlement are due to begin next year.

Do you think the licence fee should be abolished to make way for a voluntary subscription? Do you think public service broadcasting has a future in Britain? Is the licence fee value for money?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 8

  • Comment number 1.

    Yes,No and Didn't we answer the third question a couple of weeks ago?!

  • Comment number 2.

    The 'voluntary subscription' sky uses can only work with a complex delivery system (satellite dish or cable) which can be password/security card controlled. Its hardly practical for restricting access to BBC radio on your car stereo is it?

  • Comment number 3.

    voluntary? who's big idea is this?

  • Comment number 4.

    13 years of appalling left-wing think tanks that even thought that handing out heroin to drug addicts 'was the way forward' now we have the rise of the right-wing think tanks.

    We need neither - we need commonsense.

  • Comment number 5.

    The BBC licence fee is nothing more than a Tax.

    It should be scrapped and completely abandoned.

    The BBC has some of the most successful programs in the world, the worldwide sales of BBC programs could easily fund the BBC without a TV licence tax.

    I no longer watch live broadcast TV, I pick up the programs I want to watch a day or so later on the internet or use IPlayer. Neither of these options require me to have a TV licence, but if that were to change I would simply stop watching.

    They say you never miss it until it has gone, well in the case of UK broadcast TV you simply never miss it.

  • Comment number 6.

    There are far too many overpaid 'executives' and so-called celebrities milking the licence fee and consequently the tax-payer for as much as they can. Making the BBC more competitive would streamline the overstaffed bureaucracy and maybe help in programme quality and stop catering to the whims of their London based fancies.

  • Comment number 7.

    If you have your tv services from Virgin or Sky or Bt you get to choose the package you want and don't have to pay for that you don't want.
    I also don't have to pay the bill for those over 80 receiving these services a fair proportion of whom are perfectly able to pay this themselves.

    Services could still be provided for those unable to pay in the same manner as other age related means tested benefits.

    Seems a perfectly reasonable idea.

    Why should some of my licence fee go to pay the ludicrous salaries of BBC Pop radio presenters (Chris Moyles for eg iro £600,000 pa!) when I haven't listened to a BBC Music station for 30 years.

    I would readily pay a fee of around £5-10 per month for the BBC TV presentation.
    Which would make it reasonable value and perhaps would ensure that the BBC started behaving with more wisdom regarding excessive payments to those in front of and behind the camera or microphone.

    Alternatively the licence fee could be reduced to the same level as that applying in Cameroon. 20p per Year!

  • Comment number 8.

    It should be funded the same as other channels with advertising (so long as the BBC don't cut to adverts during live sport events like ITV when they cut to an advert by accident before the goal in the England Vs USA - idiots)

    Also, I am a white and English, and am not interested in watching or listening to the BBC Asian Network, provided by the BBC and probably funded by the liscence fees? so if it is why should I pay for it?! talk about segregation!!

    I am sure this is the same for other people not just white people, that don't want to watch a channel that targets a specific nationality of people

    and no I don't think it is good value for money, I could live without watching Eastenders probably the only thing other than the news I watch on the BBC

  • Comment number 9.

    For heaven’s sake leave the BBC alone, the licence fee is fine and should not be messed around with, if anything i'd pay more for the service as long as they got rid of the celebrity focused tosh that they serve up. I don't want to sit through adverts or have a programming/news gathering biased towards a sponsor/majority shareholder. No Fox news (sorry i know it's not news they churn out; but expletives aren't allowed) style media rubbish. The BBC is a world class media organisation and long may it remain so, public service broadcasting is envied by other countries that sold out and can only push lowest denominator viewing to their viewers.
    Be careful what you wish for – you may just get it…

  • Comment number 10.

    The BBC should be funded by the Labour party, Greenpeace, The PC brigade, The anti-Israel/Pro Palestinian mob and the Saudi Royal Family. They get most of the BBC support.

  • Comment number 11.

    If anyone thinks that we, the owners of the BBC, are going to hand over the assets to a Commercial Group without compensation the they are deluded.

    The BBC and the Trust need to address the excesses that is within their organisations, have a purge their liberal left wing leanings and then concentrate on producing quality programming that is not just another remake of the tired old favourites from Jane Austin and co.

    The Licence fee should remain, reduced to ecourage the above. The BBC and the trust should remember that this is a tax on the country and it has responsibilities to ensure that the taxpayer obtains a good return on its funding and that enforced contributions to a political organisation is a breach of our human rights.

  • Comment number 12.

    Please, please, please don't get rid of the license fee!!

    I know that most right-wingers feel the BBC is inherently biased towards the left and would be happy to see it go on this basis alone. In reality I don't believe it is as slanted as people feel - the fact that the Murdoch owned empire is rabidly right-wing makes the output of any other media station seem socialist in comparison.

    I would definitely not want Sky's subscription model, because it doesn't offer value for money and would then only have to cater for subscribers (those who could afford it) and would leave a section of society without representation in the media. And what would your subscription get you? Would the BBC follow Sky's model and charge extra for sports, HD, movies etc.

    The BBC is a unique institution and we should be proud of its long history of providing first class news, documentary and entertainment programming. Public service broadcasting definitely has a future - remember it is not solely the BBC that receives license fee money, other terrestrial broadcasters also receive a share - how will they react to the news that this income stream is being turned off?

  • Comment number 13.

    The BBC should have to fight it out privately like everyone else. The idea that you can force people to pay a mandatory tax for state media, is pure and utter communism. Most of us already pay a great deal for our TV subscription, be it with Virgin, Sky or other providers. The idea that we have to pay an additional tax on top of that to fund state owned media, is something that belongs in 1950's Russia.

    On top of being against this kind of forced tax on state media, there are other problems. Let's not beat about the bush, the BBC has been totally and utterly taken over by the left wing. No longer does it set out to entertain and simply inform, it now sets out to change people's minds according to the ideology of the left wing.

    We all know that the BBC has been engaged in severe anti-American and anti-Israeli demonisation campaigns through their reporting. The anti-Israel campaign which is a left wing-Islamic one, is one of the most vicious, underhand, vile media campaigns seen since the 1930's. The lies, the distortion, the tactical omissions - there are countless bits of evidence of double standards by the BBC when it comes to Israel. Their own staff having been caught out in emails with a anti-Israel agenda and Jeremy Bowen the chief middle east correspondent recently admonished by the BBC trust for his pro-palestinian narrative.

    The BBC is a sick organisation desperately trying to cling onto the power its got. Remember how frightened they were when it was mooted that ITV would get some of the license money.

    They can no longer be trused. The BBC needs root and branch treatment. It would actually suit the BBC better if they were a private enterprise, that way they can finally become the PBC (Palestinian broadcasting corporation) and stop having to pretend they're neutral. With private ownership, you can then openly show your bias instead of trying to desperately hide it and going to court to cover up reports which expose your bias and which you didn't want the public to see.

    You're rotten to the core and I refuse to pay the license.

  • Comment number 14.

    I can understand concerns about wasting money on poorly thought out schemes such as bonus payments, expenses, etc for peripheral staff but, and it's a big BUT.....to use Sky broadcasting as THE example for quality broadcasting content is deeply flawed!

    I don't mind paying the licence fee if I get quality and varied TV and Radio. Sky exists, in my mind, to promote the interests of Murdoch Enterprises. Apart from a few imported gems e.g. The Simpsons (which regularly lampoons Fox/Sky/Murdoch), the level of broadcasting from Sky is pants. Perhaps it does make money but so what? Is that the only yardstick for success today?

    I would pay the licence fee for the BBCs Natural World and Comedy output alone. I don't believe we are being hard done by at all. It would be interesting to find out what incentives are being dangled infront of the agitators in this episode. Oh, and also who is providing these treats....

  • Comment number 15.

    Subscribing to the BBC? Just watch the subsription costs soar and BBC advertising start creeping in.

    And even more channels!?? These days, I struggle to find anything worth watching and if we are all going to end up paying higher subs to watch more of the drivel, more repeats, I personally will be happy to give up my telly - it has become dreadful.

    There was a time when we had just 4 channels but the quality was far more consistent and certain programmes galvanised larger audiences and on a more consistent basis.

    These days, there is too much drivel, wannabe-celebrity programmes, Kerry Catona, Jordon and Jeremy Kyle - diabolical!

  • Comment number 16.

    I think the major problem would be that a subscription service would end up costing more than the current TV Licence. You only have to look at the price of the SKY subscription packages to realise this. About 10 years ago I subscribed to the basic Sky Package for a year and it cost as much as the licence fee and was rubbish. It was OK for the first few months, but then realised that the channels such as Gold endlessly repeated the same material. Very much like Dave does now where Top Gear is shown three or four times per day, every day, despite there being just over 100 shows for them to show,

  • Comment number 17.

    The licence fee is not sustainable owing to new online developments, as is pointed out: it will eventually be challenged in Court. There are many ways for the BBC to prevail eg. a mixture of contributions, going commercial &/or continued government backing, etc. This is a good time to knock heads together & ensure that the BBC delivers value for money, from whichever source of funding.

  • Comment number 18.

    FFS -
    £145.50 per household per year, that works out to:
    £12.13 a month
    £2.80 a week
    40p a day

    Less than the cost of a daily paper for radio, TV and website. Much better value than anything operated privately.

  • Comment number 19.

    In the year 2010, the license fee is outdated and unfair. With the rich variety of channels there is no need for a forced payment simply to own a television.

    Yes, people will complain about subcription fees and advertisements on Sky and ITV but the fact is that people choose whether or not to pay for Sky, Virgin or BT Vision.

    More recently, people were getting all up in arms about paying a broadband tax if you had a BT landline, even if you didn't use any BT services. I ask you, how is this any different? If you own a tv, you must have a license whether you watch BBC programming, listen to BBC radio or use the BBC website or you don't. The license fee is a concept that is well past it's sell by date and needs to be removed.

  • Comment number 20.

    You pay twice for Sky. Subscription and then through the products advertised, that you then buy. For example half the price of your next Nike product is going to pay Sky and the multi-millionaire sports stars who endorse their product.

  • Comment number 21.

    i don't think we should scrap the license fee as a subscription service would require advertising in order to keep enough money in the pot.
    BBC advertising would destroy the BBC because said advertisers would have a say on the BBC's output which would mean partisan right wing news made to appease Rupert Murdoch.

    However i see no reason why the license fee shouldn't be halved and the BBC output shouldn't be similarly halved.

    I don't see why i should pay near 150 pounds a year when the BBC uses my money to make shows for foreign countries.

    Also may i just say the license fee should buy you a login for the BBC iplayer when you enter the login ALL bbc shows past and present in their entirety should be available to view.

    I strongly resent TV shows i have paid for only being available for a week and shows like say red dwarf etc i can't view at all and we all know why this is the bbc want me to buy such shows on DVD but why should i? I paid for them to be developed not the BBC so i should see them whenever i like.

  • Comment number 22.

    I am not interested in anything shown on terrestial TV, the BBC even more so, except Doctor Who. I do not own an ariel, I can watch Dr. Who on PS3 iPlayer. I can watch programs I do enjoy when they come out on DVD or stream them online, rather than waiting about 3 years for a channel over here to buy them.

    I just don't understand where TV would fit in to my life, especially when you have to watch things at a particular time. The whole thing seems very outdated to me, I don't think there is a way of making it fairer or relevant. Instead of pouring money into trying to save something dying, how about coming up with something new and effective to replace it?

  • Comment number 23.

    As far as I am concerned the BBC is one of the (increasingly few) things that is genuinely great about this country. For a comparatively small hypothecated tax we get one of the best news-reporting services in the world - sure, everyone thinks it's biased; that's just because it doesn't kow-tow to any particular viewpoint. More than that, though, we get top-notch drama series - Sherlock is just the most recent in an illustrious line - drama good enough to sell across the world. More than that, though, we get absolutely top-shelf documentary series - series that are genuinely life-enhancing. More than that, though, we get one of the most useful and reliable websites in the world. I could go on, but you get the picture.

    Do I think a "subscription service" would provide this? Not a chance. Do I think an advertising-based model would provide this? Take a look at the drivel being churned out by ITV and the thousands of hours Channel 4 devotes to "Come Dine With Me" and "Big Brother".

    Make the BBC like any other broadcaster and you'll get the lowest common denominator - a denominator made yet lower by not having a properly-financed BBC for comparison. And Britain will be a bit less great.

  • Comment number 24.

    I no longer watch live broadcast TV, I pick up the programs I want to watch a day or so later on the internet or use IPlayer. Neither of these options require me to have a TV licence, but if that were to change I would simply stop watching.
    I think you will find that you iPlayer T's & C's

    3.2.2 If you do not have a valid television licence

    You may not watch television programmes using BBC iPlayer on any device (including mobile phones, laptops and personal computers) at the same time (or virtually the same time) as the programmes are being broadcast, simulcast or otherwise made available to members of the public on television unless you have a valid television licence. For more information on this requirement please see Do I need a TV licence to watch programmes on BBC iPlayer? or you can contact TV Licensing by calling 0870 241 5590 or by visiting www.tvlicensing.co.uk/.

  • Comment number 25.

    Yet another BBC navel-gazing HYS. What next?
    "What drinks do YOU think should be served in the BBC bar?"

    I'm perplexed. The hard left held riots in the streets when Thatcher introduced the Poll Tax. But what is the TV licence if not a Poll Tax by another name?

    It's typical of Britain how absolutely entrenched certain things become and then they acquire the ststus of deity and it is impossible to reform them. The NHS is another such institution.

    In an age of multi-channel + internet the licence fee is a total anachronism. It may be good value for money (not that you would think it from all the talking heads/ex athletes on the recent Athletics championships coverage) but that is not a reason to tax people compulsorily or victimise those who do not need a licence. A subscription service is morally the way to go, though a certain amount of advertising in between programmes would be OK - the BBC advertise themselves incessantly these days anyway. If that means a smaller BBC then, poor dears, they will have to join the real world.

  • Comment number 26.

    There is a strong but unspoken right wing agenda which sees the BBC's institutional editorial independance as an irritating obstacle to its complete dominaton of news reporting. For this reason the licence fee has become more than ever one of the keystones of our free, liberal democracy.

  • Comment number 27.

    10. At 11:23am on 02 Aug 2010, Graham wrote:
    The BBC should be funded by the Labour party, Greenpeace, The PC brigade, The anti-Israel/Pro Palestinian mob and the Saudi Royal Family. They get most of the BBC support.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Couldn't have put it better myself!

    The BBC lost any respect when it ventured down the path of non-impartiality and the promotion of every insidious left-wing cause.

    I would suggest that those with a left wing tendancy be forced to fund the BBC as its obviously now an institutional mouth piece for them.

  • Comment number 28.

    13 years of appalling left-wing think tanks that even thought that handing out heroin to drug addicts 'was the way forward' now we have the rise of the right-wing think tanks.

    We need neither - we need commonsense.

    Handing out heroin to addicts makes a damn site more sense that this does:
    Heroin is dirt cheap, Methadone is expensive and doesn't work. Give the addicts 10p of heroin a day and the dealers (which ultimately mean the Taliban) go out of business, crime drops like a stone (why steal to buy overpriced heroin of unknown quality when the pharamceutical grade stuff is free?) and the side effects of unclean street heroin (overdose and poisoning with the cutting agents) vanish.

    The only other alternative would be the Malaysian approach- get addicts into labour camps for years and beat the addiction out of them (which costs far more than prison).

    Unlike some incredibly expensive and unworkable BBC subscription system the heroin idea is actually cost effective and workable!

  • Comment number 29.

    Whilst other channels fight it out and try to be innovative to survive, the BBC sits there like a big fat cat with its £3billion annual budget churning out mostly rubbish and of course left wing, anti-American, anti-Israel, pro-climate change propaganda. The BBC should be proud of itself. In their 10 year long anti-Israel project, they have managed to change the British public from being generally pro-Israel to being anti-Israel. Although when you're a media funded by a compulsory tax and have endless wealth, it's quite easy to conduct a hate campaign full of lies and distortion. The BBC excels in its left wing distortion. How many more times does the BBC trust have to find the BBC in breach of its regulations with regards to Israel, before you get totally exposed for the heinous left wing shower that you are?


    Scrap the license fee.

  • Comment number 30.

    Yes, I do think the license fee should be abolished. The BBC provides a service - a good service - which I would be prepared to subscribe to, but I should have a choice in the matter. It should not be an imposed tax. The introduction of digital television allows for this type of system. Some form of decoder will be neccessary - set-top box - so a card type system is not impossible. Programme choice could be the same as competitors in terms of pay to view with choices - not everybody wants to watch football! Yes, it would mean significant change for the BBC because it would find it's self having to compete for audiences, something it does not have to do today.

  • Comment number 31.

    This forum seems to be going round in circles with regard to the BBC, with the same questions cropping up time and time again. The BBC does produce some good quality programming, but very little better than other broadcasters. It is not good value for money and the whole approach to licence fees needs to be addressed.
    I do not subscribe to Sky or any other pay channels. However, I would choose to pay for some form of subscription to the BBC. It is worth... something, just not the current subscription fee.

  • Comment number 32.

    There's only one difference, whichever method is used the consumer ends up paying for rubbish, and probably more eventually. The main difference being the bogey man won't call because you haven't paid your licence.

  • Comment number 33.

    The licence fee must be kept. The BBC is a national institution that must be kept at all costs. The fee is the most obvious way of buying into British culture. I only listen to non commercial radio stations and BBC TV programming including news, is by far the best and should not in anyway be interfered with. The BBC and government have a responsibility to British people to keep delivering the quality of wide ranging media that the BBC has done so well, certainly during my lifetime. Don't even try to compasre the BBC with shoddy ITV or commercially driven rubbish that is the overblown subsrictions of Sky.

  • Comment number 34.

    This sustained attack on the funding of the BBC by commercial interests, the reasons are not hard to work out and who would benefit from staving the BBC of funds
    The BBC should remain publicly funded, but I have to admit the standard of programs and so-called talent, needs examination

  • Comment number 35.

    65% of the voting population of the UK vote for Liberal or Left of centre parties at elections.

    Why then do contributors to HYS seem to think everyone in the UK are all somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun in our beliefs!
    Perhaps we can have a forum where the right/left/centre /up/down/gay /straight/racist/pluralist nature of the BBC is not considered and we look at the options that will best provide a quality service at affordable cost.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    This is the death of the BBC as we know it - a stab in the back from Murdoch et al. Excellent drama, factual programmes, good news coverage, etc etc will vanish. We will be left with the mindless reality shows, Xfactor/Big Brother style TV. The licence fee is sensible and it works. Why change it? Where does that leave BBC radio? Also, is the BBC signing its own death warrant by moving to Manchester?

  • Comment number 38.

    #8 Also, I am a white and English, and am not interested in watching or listening to the BBC Asian Network, provided by the BBC and probably funded by the liscence fees? so if it is why should I pay for it?! talk about segregation!!


    I suspect british Asians also pay the licence fee. Why should they pay for your preferred programming? It works both ways. As a white aethiest Scot I surely have the same right to complain about 'having to pay for Songs of Praise' and all these English local radio stations. In fact taking this argument to its natural conclusion why should I have to pay for RAF search and rescue services or the fire brigade? I've never needed those either.

  • Comment number 39.

    20. At 11:34am on 02 Aug 2010, Bob A Job wrote:

    You pay twice for Sky. Subscription and then through the products advertised, that you then buy. For example half the price of your next Nike product is going to pay Sky and the multi-millionaire sports stars who endorse their product.


    Not necessarily, though I'm not saying I think you're wrong either! Sky have a number of free-to-air channels (Sky News, Sky Sports News, Sky Three on Freeview for example), plus of course you don't have to purchase goods which were advertised on Sky TV if you watch Sky. Many goods have an associated cost of marketing and some companies will actually set aside marketing budget to even advertise on the BBC in addition to commercial channels. There's a cost associated with, for example, plugging a book on a talk show or Top Gear, though generally much smaller than the cost of a 30 second advert on a high-viewer channel. Some companies, e.g Apple, seem to be particularly adept at using the BBC.

  • Comment number 40.

    Bob A Job wrote:

    FFS -
    £145.50 per household per year, that works out to:
    £12.13 a month
    £2.80 a week
    40p a day

    Less than the cost of a daily paper for radio, TV and website. Much better value than anything operated privately.

    ======

    The difference is we CHOOSE to buy a daily paper and we CHOOSE which paper we want.

    The BBC is FORCED on us. And as someone who doesn't want pro-Arabian news FORCED on them, I refuse to pay the ENFORCED license tax. You get into more trouble for not paying the tax than for assaulting someone in the street.

  • Comment number 41.

    FFS -
    £145.50 per household per year, that works out to:
    £12.13 a month
    £2.80 a week
    40p a day

    Less than the cost of a daily paper for radio, TV and website. Much better value than anything operated privately
    -------
    Really I pay nothing for 45 channels of Virgin TV service it comes free with the telephone!
    Sky do a similar option £100 one off payment for a box and dish and then 80+ free channels.

    Please BBC fan boys it isn't that good value!

  • Comment number 42.

    The License fee is totally obsolete and should be immediately scrapped. The BBC has received sufficient fees from the Public over the past fifty years to give them an unassailable position in the media market and this means an unfair advantage over all other providers. It is about time competition was on an equal footing.

    In addition, the BBC are heavily biased towards the Labour Party and the frequently given nanny-state advice is both unwelcome and unacceptable. The BBC should be totally non-politcal but its staff selection processes ensure the bias is maintained.

    It is time for a Change.

  • Comment number 43.

    The Adam Smith Institute is little more than a joke.They clearly have a desire to turn the BBC into a TV version of the Sun and News of the World. What an appalling prospect.Rupert must be delighted.

  • Comment number 44.

    Agree 100%!


    Either I want free and impartial programming (no politics, no religion), or I want it subscriber supported.

    I don't want to pay for propaganda. [Even your documentaries are loaded with it.. ]
    I don't want to pay for religious indoctrination.



    Fact is, if enough people decided not to pay the license fee, it would need to become abolished (as the few remaining payers would have astronomical fees).
    I encourage you all to release yourself from the bane that is TV. Use your computers a bit smarter.

  • Comment number 45.

    Yep, the licence has had its day.
    The technology is out there now for a subscription service to be applied.
    I'd still pay for the Beeb, but I can understand those that don't want to, or who lose their job and have to economise having the option.

  • Comment number 46.

    David Cheshire wrote:

    There is a strong but unspoken right wing agenda which sees the BBC's institutional editorial independance as an irritating obstacle to its complete dominaton of news reporting. For this reason the licence fee has become more than ever one of the keystones of our free, liberal democracy.

    ===

    That has to be one of the most ridiculous posts I have read on here in a long time. How on earth can a FORCED tax on STATE media be free, democratic or liberal?. It's pure communism.

    No state media can be independent of the government. State media always ends up trying to shape society, trying to influence thinking.

    Absolute lunacy to call it democratic.

  • Comment number 47.

    30. At 11:48am on 02 Aug 2010, Tio Terry wrote:
    Yes, I do think the license fee should be abolished. ....... Yes, it would mean significant change for the BBC because it would find it's self having to compete for audiences, something it does not have to do today.



    If you're going to propose the BBC just becomes another commercial channel churning out lowest common denominator cheap trash to appeal to the masses why bother keeping it all?

    The whole point of the BBC is that it can raise a tax to pay for stuff that a reasonable amount of people want to watch but would never be available on a commercial channel because it doesn't generate revenue (eg. stuff I don't like: 'Songs of Praise' , 'Countryfile' etc). Its precisely because of this system that the BBC makes the best nature documentaries in the world. You don't get David Attenborough on ITV or Sky for a reason.

  • Comment number 48.

    27. At 11:44am on 02 Aug 2010, Phillip of England wrote:
    10. At 11:23am on 02 Aug 2010, Graham wrote:
    The BBC should be funded by the Labour party, Greenpeace, The PC brigade, The anti-Israel/Pro Palestinian mob and the Saudi Royal Family. They get most of the BBC support.

    --

    Yep the BBC is so anti-Israel that not only did they refuse to participate in the Palestinian Humanitarian Aid campaign, following the last round of 'unpleasantness' they also refrained from reporting the Israeli Presidents comments this very weekend that, and I quote 'England is a nation of anti-semites'.

    Looks like the pressure groups have finally achieved what they wanted, the BBC has become too afraid of the lobby groups to broadcast certain stories.

    I only read about it on SKY.

  • Comment number 49.

    The Adam Smith Institute in my opinion is basically a bunch of idealogical biased muppets.

    Their ENDEMIC beliefs in the FREE MARKET are NOT just confined to BBC TV. They ALSO include health care and education.

    Guess whos intersts they have at heart, NOT the public, but individuals.

    The " free market", is basically a FREE FOR ALL, an economic punch up power struggle, it has very little to do with decency/morals/ethics, although you will find many of its core of christian faith, but NOT principle.

    Have a look around at the free market world, of course it ultimately is incapable of assisting in a banking/economic collapse, or starving millions around the world.
    One thing with entitys like the Adam Smith Institute is that supporting any singular part of it is no different to supporting a singular part of the BNP or Torys or Labour.

    Support just one part, and you effectively support the whole, whatever it is, hence, BEFORE you support, you'd BEST FULLY and PROPERLY and INTELIGENTLY understand that reality which your support ignores.

  • Comment number 50.

    I think its absolutely right that there is a licence fee and that the fee should be compulsory. What I don't necessarily agree with is what the BBC choose to spend it on.

    If you made it a subscription then a huge proportion of people would choose not to pay. The BBC would shrink to be a boring provider of cheap content and repeats that survived only because of deals with other subscription packages to include it. Many of the better programming simply wouldn't get made.

    What the BBC have got to avoid is the feeling amongst its licence payers that it is too generous with itself and the talent and creates spurious comparisons with other broadcasters and a very dubious "marketplace" in order to justify its generosity. Sadly it is succeeding in fooling no-one but itself. Now that most programme making is subcontracted or independent it needs far fewer managers on vast salaries with huge expenses. That management approach might be justified if the BBC were itself making all its programmes, but if it's subcontracting and buying in the products of independent production companies, so turning part of its licence fee receipts into other companies' profits, then it has to make up for that by reducing its own running costs, otherwise its strategy is simply wrong.

    Sadly I think the attitudes at or near the top of the BBC have been more orientated towards looking for shreds of evidence to prove them right rather than just accepting that the outside view of them is justified and making appropriate changes. If this is last chance alley for the licence fee lets hope they wake up to reality in time. I don't want our premier broadcaster's revenues cut by 90% because its been moved to a subscription basis.

  • Comment number 51.

    I agree with comments about the licence fee being a tax. Fund the BBC directly from the treasury - at a level of no more than 50% of the current funding.
    This does several things:
    a) Cuts the paperwork, tv licence 'inspectors', database of all homes (assumption made that we all have a TV even when we don't), allows for the fact that most of us can (and do) watch BBC on the net, saves money.
    b) By reducing the funding dramaticaly we will force the BBC to stop paying 'talent' stupid amounts of money. If a commercial station wishes to then that is fine. The BBC should grow presenters at sensible salaries (within 3x national average) on the grounds that the people being taxed to pay for it don't earn stupid money (by and large).

    I don't CARE whether the BBC can afford 'Jonathan Ross' and his ilk. There are plenty of people in this country who can wear a shirt and tie to read a script. There are plenty of people who can write good material. There are millions who could pronounce clearly (which would be a start) and be gramatically correct (which would be good) who are available for a sensible wage to present programs.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    A better question to ask might be why a state funded broadcaster is needed in the 21st century?

    Frankly Good old Aunty is well past her sell by date. The BBC is a bureaucratic uncommercial nightmare which needs a robust dose of competitive pressure to reform its outdated mind set, methods and extraordinarily cavalier attitude to the taxpayer hand outs that support it.

    Perhaps the only good thing to come out of the shambles of coalition government could be a hard headed review and a decision the flog the old girl off. For me - the sooner the better!

  • Comment number 54.

    The only reason the BBC can afford posh new buildings, such as the ones in London and Salford are because we ALL have to pay.
    BBC2 should just be called BBC raddish.More repeats.
    BBC3 is a joke. As is BBCHD.
    £3.4 billion and BBCHD doesn't even broadcast shows till late evening, and then their is no consistancy.One Week you will see a programme in HD, the next its not.
    Sadly the BBC is no longer as good as it thinks it is.
    As for catering for all ages,it seems that once you are over 35, your over the hill and forgotten.

  • Comment number 55.

    While the license fee is good value for money it has probably had its day. There is probably not enough advertising revenue to go round without decreasing quality across the board so an alternative funding model is required. My suggestion would be a proportion of Government funding to keep core channels free to air (say BBC 1 and Radio 1 to 4) raised through general taxation, the rest moving to a subscription service. The move to digital means that the technology to do this is now in homes.

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 57.

    Perhaps the Irish Republic should be asked to contribute. They somehow get sports, news and weather coverage on the BBC as if they are part of the UK. Why? They are non-contributing foreigners.

  • Comment number 58.

    Totally agree with Gordon’s (11:22) posting.

    Leave the BBC alone and yes be careful watch you wish for.

    I suspect that the pay channels are pushing this campaign as their profits are falling due mainly, as Lord Sugar predicted back in 2000, to falling advertising revenues as the Internet and mobile phones has taken a huge slice of the cake.

    The result would a huge rise in subscriptions so on that basis the licence fee is extremely good value. The BBC makes great programs and is the only channel to make quality children’s programs as opposed to pumping out American cartoon rubbish.

    Leave it alone!

  • Comment number 59.

    #37 "Also, is the BBC signing its own death warrant by moving to Manchester?"

    Manchester doesn't have THAT big a problem with gun crime!

    Being serious why should it be a problem? The BBC have regional stations all over the country (Dr Who etc is made by BBC Wales) and broadcasting house is half empty at present. Those huge studios that were used for Live Saturday morning kids shows and stuff like 'Tomorrows world' and 'Top of the pops' are largely empty. The BBC are using a huge amount of the licence fee to pay to maintain empty buildings.

  • Comment number 60.

    Yes indeed, the BBC licence is NOT a licence but a TAX. No-one can refuse to pay it. If I choose to use Sky I can elect what channels I use and therefore how much I pay. With the BBC I have no choice. I pay more for repeats than original programmes. Mr Thompson always says he could earn much more in the Commercial sector, (why not try it?) so if he has such a high opinion of the Commercial sector then OK, go out and find the funds for the BBC. I do not mind too much paying a licence fee for decent programmes, (this excludes in my case so called 'reality programmes', but I do object fiercely paying for obscene salaries for BBC 'Executives' and so called 'stars' who just happen to be todays 'in crowd' (To be fair minded I do think the BBC covergae of the Womens Golf this weekend was very good. Peter Alliss was, as usual, brilliant.) All I ask is for the BBC to come down to earth and realise that £145 is a lot of money. Reduce the licence by 50% or go and find it elswhere. If I actually understood what 'public broadcasting' meant in the 21st Century then I would feel I could add a serious comment.

  • Comment number 61.

    26. At 11:42am on 02 Aug 2010, David Cheshire wrote:
    There is a strong but unspoken right wing agenda which sees the BBC's institutional editorial independance as an irritating obstacle to its complete dominaton of news reporting. For this reason the licence fee has become more than ever one of the keystones of our free, liberal democracy.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The BBC's "editorial independence" was hijacked by the liberal lefties years ago David, and it would be insincere to suggest otherwise. Even some of their journalists and editors have admitted the bias.
    The difference between right of centre media and the BBC's left of centre agenda, is that the consumer doesn't have the right to refuse to buy one of them.
    I despise what the BBC has become...... sure it still makes some great TV, which in itself would make the Corporation worth keeping, but the lefty agenda has become so overbearing and obvious that it undermines the whole institution.
    Time to scrap the BBC.

  • Comment number 62.

    I believe that it is essential to maintain the BBC as the central reference point of basic British standards, both to the nation itself and to listeners and viewers around the world who rely on it for guidance on English Language and morality, as well as the reality of truth behind newsworthy affairs. What I feel is going wrong with the BBC are their attempts to grow beyond the needs of the majority of our population.

    My prime bête noir at the moment is the introduction of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) technology which, while helping the profits of many foreign receiver and other equipment manufacturers, has done nothing to add value to the lives of license payers. Indeed, it is poised to add £Billions to the costs of licence holders should the threatened closure of much of the FM, Medium and Long Wave networks be forced upon us.

    The FM stereo network that DAB seeks to replace is ubiquitously available in over 95% of the UK landmass and is compatible with thousands of existing household and personal gadgets from alarm clocks to car radios and many other appliances in between. FM can be received easily by self-contained equipment with built-in antennae. It is true that FM wavelengths are in short supply but when, for instance, Radio1 occupies at least 6 of them, Radio2 another 2 that I know of and Radio3 has at least 3 different wavelengths all to itself, it’s easy to see that the new DAB-only radio stations could have been fitted into the existing FM network easily so everyone could enjoy Radio7’s oldie output - not just the well-heeled trendy few.

    DAB is only available from terrestrial digital transmitters and is highly susceptible to signal loss due to high buildings and undulating topography. Here, in Surrey, I’ve had to string yards (Oops! Non-PC! Sorry, I meant metres, honest!) of japanned copper aerial wire (more than I needed for a crystal set as a boy) in order to get a peep out of my mains-powered, all-singing-and-dancing DAB receiver. I can’t imagine how a truly portable receiver would work without wrapping myself with wire, like a lightning conductor, to supplement the built in collapsible rod aerial. None of my FM radios (except the car) need anything more than an internal ferrite bar to obtain clear, crisp reception.

    DAB is surely the BBC’s “TSR2” project and needs scrapping now!

  • Comment number 63.

    Why should BBC be funded by the license fee? It is not a common public good like military or police force.

    As an immigrant I feel I am forced to pay for something I do not value myself that much.

    BBC does many good programmes (many documentaries and science programmes are very good), but it produces more rubbish. Its news programme is wishy-washy, and is distinctly biased against many countries.

    BBC should be run on advert revenues and/or subscription fees.

  • Comment number 64.

    Just so people know what will happen, how about we take all the American free to air stations and broadcast them on the BBC channels for a week, I've a fair idea that most would be complaining after only a day. I say let them suffer a weeks worth of US radio and television, they will soon want the BBC back.

    Ah you may say, look at all the good american TV shows, yes but most of them are on cable channels and they cost lots more than the TV licence, and you have to suffer large chunks of advertising in the begining, middle,and end of them.

  • Comment number 65.

    Licence fee scrapped.

    100 put on all council tax bills and collected through the council tax system.

    100 extra rebate to households with someone over 70 to maintain their free licences.

    250 extra bunsess rate for all bussnesses NOT providing TV for the public

    1000 extra bunsness rates for busness that allow the public to watch TV.

    Abolish the tv detector vans, licence stamps, house hold database, enforcement teams etc

    the above charges fixed for 10 years.

  • Comment number 66.

    I feel the BBC lost all impartiality upon David Kelly's unfortunate death.
    On another note as a proud scot I feel that my TV licence should be used to fund local programming as well as having political commentators that can at least show some impartiality rather than the anti-SNP sneering commentators. I get angry at all the Glenn-Campbellism that permeates political reporting north of the border

  • Comment number 67.

    The Licence Fee does help to uphold programme quality when it comes to BBC programmes and without it the quality would suffer. This year's General Election and news coverage must have cost a good percentage of the Licence Fee - some of it wouldn't have been financially possible if it wasn't for the revenue collected from Licence Fee payers. If you include this year's World Cup coverage and other special one-off programmes made by the BBC so far this year, I think that you'll be getting the value of the Licence Fee several times over.

    I know that people often say that today's television isn't as good as it was in the 1970s or 1980s, but do people really want to have programme quality to suffer by not paying £145 a year? Taking advertising would be like diluting programme quality, and although it would mean more spots for the advertisers, it would just mean that they would that the BBC channels would be just another ITV.

    Admittedly there are some programmes that I do not like such as EastEnders, but I have yet to hear from any viewer who likes everything that is on a BBC channel. You are not forced to watch a BBC channel just because you own a television set, a Digital Box, an aerial and a Licence Fee. It is a free country at the end of the day.

    Yes, keep the Licence Fee - but only allow it to go to £150 and keep it at that amount for the foreseeable future. Presumably it will get to this amount in about 2012.

    Oh, and it's "Licence" Fee and not "License" Fee. Licence is a noun and License is a verb.

  • Comment number 68.

    The fact that the everyone writing a comment on this site means they must come to the BBC website regularly which shows the hypocrisy in the statements that they rarely use the BBC's services. You also have to commend the willingness of the BBC to ask people how it should be funded in the first place.

  • Comment number 69.

    40. At 12:00pm on 02 Aug 2010, SystemF wrote:

    The difference is we CHOOSE to buy a daily paper and we CHOOSE which paper we want.

    The BBC is FORCED on us. And as someone who doesn't want pro-Arabian news FORCED on them, I refuse to pay the ENFORCED license tax. You get into more trouble for not paying the tax than for assaulting someone in the street.

    mmmmmm

    so you dont use ANY of the BBC's services, like Radio 1 -> 7 or BBC 1->5 etc or for that mater the BBC website

    OH it appears you do, so pay for it!

  • Comment number 70.

    surely the purpose of public service broadcasting is to provide quality programming for all sections of the UK society and not shareholders, and therefore shouldn't be compared to a market based model that chases audience share to justify its existence.

    By allowing the argument to framed by audience share and viewing figures, the BBC is always on the defensive.

  • Comment number 71.

    Hard one this.

    On the one hand there is no justification for having to pay the BBC for merely having a TV upon which you can watch anything.

    On balance the subscription is proabaly the way forward because the current method is unfair and outdayed, and the BBC has no need whatsoever to live within it's actual commercial means.

  • Comment number 72.

    Scrap it? This is the only bill i pay that i feel actually provides value for money! I mainly watch BBC2, listen to Radio 5 Live and use BBC website - licence fee worth it for those alone.

    If you can stomach 10 minutes of Sky TV you'll get an idea of the kind of rubbish produced via private subcription. What kind of utter brain dead lunatic would pay to sit in front of endless adverts! Laughable.

    I see this debate has attracted all the people who detest the BBC and all it stands for particularly the licence fee, why on earth would you even be on this website? Morons.

  • Comment number 73.

    My license fee came up for renewal last week, and on reviewing the situation, I realised that I haven't actually watched a single TV programme this year. No point in paying £150 a year just to have a big box sitting in the corner, so I have now given the TV away. If programmes were better, I'd watch them, but it's all reality rubbish, endless soaps, and stupid programmes about people's homes and contents.

    If I want to see a film, I can play the DVD on my computer, or watch a programme on the internet. Interestingly, the day after I got rid of the TV, the news was full of talk that people who watch iPlayer on their computers may be included in the license fee. I object to this most strongly, for the same reason I got rid of the TV: I do not want to pay for a service I don't use. Conversely, I am happy to pay for a service I do use.

    The BBC cannot complain that it would no longer be able to afford to pay for big "celebrities": the so-called "celebrities" will just have to learn to accept lower salaries, in the same way that musicians have had to accept lower record sales. The internet is, at last, levelling the playing field. The days of people being vastly overpaid for doing very little are, one hopes, slowly but surely disappearing.

  • Comment number 74.

    The BBC is no longer a 'Pulic Service Broadcaster' its current compulsary funding smacks more of a 1970 Eastern Block state.
    It should be funded like Sky, pay a subscription and get a decoder box.
    How good it is or value for money is not the issue in a free country it should be FREEDOM OF CHOICE, not compulsory.

  • Comment number 75.

    If the bbc would just be a bit more accountable - ie listen to all the complaints about talking over end credits instead of ignoring them, and fill the early evening schedules with good drama rather than cheap fly on the wall stuff - I wouldn't mind the licence fee so much.

  • Comment number 76.

    The bunch of clowns that run U.K. plc at the moment go on about choice. So just leave the license fee alone it is another string on the bow of choice. The rabid right want us all to pay their exorbitant prices for their tat and repeats of said tat. Murdoch wants to control it all and keep us peasants where the rancid right thinks we all should be, licking their boots whilst kicking us at the same time, and we should be grateful for said kicking. I know that once I have paid my license fee for the year I can watch excellent programmes and not be restricted by the greed of the broadcasters investors. The right go on about Executive pay at the BBC whilst turning blind eye to the likes of Tony Hayward and the excesses of Corporate Businesses.

  • Comment number 77.

    47. At 12:09pm on 02 Aug 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:
    30. At 11:48am on 02 Aug 2010, Tio Terry wrote:
    Yes, I do think the license fee should be abolished. ....... Yes, it would mean significant change for the BBC because it would find it's self having to compete for audiences, something it does not have to do today.



    If you're going to propose the BBC just becomes another commercial channel churning out lowest common denominator cheap trash to appeal to the masses why bother keeping it all?

    The whole point of the BBC is that it can raise a tax to pay for stuff that a reasonable amount of people want to watch but would never be available on a commercial channel because it doesn't generate revenue (eg. stuff I don't like: 'Songs of Praise' , 'Countryfile' etc). Its precisely because of this system that the BBC makes the best nature documentaries in the world. You don't get David Attenborough on ITV or Sky for a reason.


    There is no mention of advertising in my post. I said I would be prepared to pay for the programmes I want,that would include Countryfile but not Songs of Praise. I have no interest in Football but would happily pay for F1 and Top Gear. By being funded by a tax that just about all households HAVE to pay the BBC is insulated from the effects of competition. Change the funding to pay to view and they would lose that insulation and would have to produce programmes that we considered great value for money, to me that is the very best form of competition.

  • Comment number 78.

    I totally agree that BBC's reliance on licence fee ought to finish. Not only the BBC has misused the privilege by creating enormous number of fat cats but skewed the entire broadcasting field. Jokers and comedians think that they are the God given gift to us starting with obscene payments from the tax payer and eventually offered peerages or headships of some Quangos.

    Even the newsreaders at BBC appear to think that they deserve remuneration of £800,000 plus and jokers £6 millions plus. So called the hierarchy at BBC are deluded into thinking that their 'calibre' deserve more than the Prime Minister. Shameful and Obscene!!

    All that at the cost of £145 every year misappropriated from the vulnerable groups of the society who have no say in the matter, whether they wish to watch BBC or not!!

    I have said this before and I say it again and would keep on saying:

    ABOLISH THE LICENCE FEE
    SELL OFF BBC
    SACK THE PARASITES AND
    FORCE THEM OFF THE BACK OF PUBLIC AND MAKE THEM EARN THEIR LIVING.

  • Comment number 79.

    Do you honestly believe that any right minded government will walk away from the TAX aka licence fee! Besides some in government will have you believe that they have doubts about BBC impartiality etc, but its a game that's being played here. Quite simply if the government howls national security on certain issues the BBC roll over and comply! You really need to look at some historic cover-ups or non-politically correct BBC actions. New technology advances have out-flanked the licenece fee, they should now gracefully bow out! Many versions of the truth will still get delivered through a great many channels...........

  • Comment number 80.

    Since the BBC and Channel 4 offer pretty much all the TV I watch I would say that it the license fee is good value. The only time I have watched ITV this year was for the world cup, and the BBC coverage was better anyway. Channel 4 offer some good documentaries that are often that bit better than Panorama, and the Channel 4 news at 7 is better than the BBC news at 6, but lacks the local news, so I watch both. Other than that, there is Shameless and The IT Crowd. The rest of my viewing is BBC. All the comedy panel shows (Mock the Week, Have I Got News For you, Would I Lie to You), Family Guy (though I have seen all the episodes at least 3-4 times now...) Top Gear, the F1, various stand-up and sketch shows (That Mitchell and Webb Look, Russell Howard, Live at the Apollo etc) and some of the US drama (which is so much better than most of the stuff we produce) like Heroes. Doctor Who is also pretty good. The lack of adverts is fantastic. Whilst I don't like everything on the BBC (the dancing programmes, the musical shows, anything with public voting) lots do and the BBC have to allow for this. I have to admit that the BBC does a good job, and all those who complain about a lack of quality probably just enjoy a good moan. I don't listen to the radio - in car I have my iPod because my music taste is far to far from the mainstream (and in most cases, explicit/violent/loud) for general broadcast. The only thing I would say, is that there is actually more availability for the Asian community (via the BBC Asian network) than there is for people who like modern music that isn't chart material, such as metal, drum and bass or trance.

    As for the whole not needing a license thing, perhaps it could just be extended to those with an internet connection in the UK as well as a TV? Probably not all that many people who fall into that catergory. The iPlayer is a fantastic thing, but perhaps if the BBC were to go down the road of 4od on Youtube for international viewers they would cut down on all the problems of overseas viewers.

  • Comment number 81.

    The BBC should get back to its core functions which should be funded by a reduced licence fee.

    By core functions I mean provision of news & current affairs (via TV, radio and the website), documentaries, sports coverage, nature programmes, good quality children's TV, quality comedy, and innovative/instructive TV and radio (like BBC2, Radio 4 and 5).

    Other activities should be funded by subscription and should be allowed to fail if there is insufficient demand - these include soaps, game shows, chat shows, reality TV, minor radio stations (Radio 3), book publishing, the World Service and other services for those not in the BBC licence paying area, Have Your Say (or more correctly The BBC Has Its Say considering the over zealous censorship and the refusal to reintroduce the recommendation system - that's how we have our say folks!), music publishing and talent shows. And of course, all programmes involving overpaid "old hat" presenters (J Ross, T Wogan, B Forsyth) - let's give new talent a look in.

    Then clear out the top floor at Broadcasting House.

  • Comment number 82.

    The BBC sees its primary purpose as pushing the views of a tiny minority of Notting Hill socialists who are almost completely disconnected from the lives of ordinary working people but who firmly believe that they know how those people should think and run their lives.

    It still holds some power in this arena due to the £3.4 Billion it collects from its captive audience on pain of prosecution and imprisonment, but the stirrings of discontent among those who pay for it, and occasionally find themselves or their opinions pilloried by it, are beginning to show.

    In its current form, it cannot go on for much longer.

  • Comment number 83.

    The BBC is one of the most important institutions that we have - LEAVE IT ALONE! Once it's gone we will never get it back.

  • Comment number 84.

    I can't believe how annoyed this article and some of the responses have made me. Public service Broadcasting is one of the defining elements of British Society, it is the thing that says that it's not all about money, it's not all about what the viewer thinks it wants but the idea that you can be educated and entertained without the need for the yardstick of profit. Beyond that the BBC does a fantastic job at producing a variety of programmes and, as the so called 'successful' comparison is Sky, completely overshadows the pathetic efforts of Sky. If this Think Tank believes that the BBC can maintain its worldwide presence with a subscripsion model then it has clearly not thought enough. Who outside of Britain has heard of Sky's programming? Other than perhaps their sports coverage(which admitidly is brilliant) they produce nothig of note or quality themselves, they simply resell American and BBC produced programmes with no sense of originality or seperation. The BBC manages this brilliantly. Of course there are exceptions, poor attempts to prove the point of the TV Licence with ratings getters such as Stickly Come Dancing, but on the whole the BBC produces good to great original programming, the best in Britain. If that's not worth the licence fee and instead you'd rather pay £20 a month for something you can find anywhere else probably better then so be it. It'll probably end up working out more expenisve over the year, because a private company doesn't have to adddress these sorts of consumer issues, being a free market and all, and we will have to sit through advert designed programmes which are aimed to peak at certain points, rather than their main aim being to be consistantly good.

    Also the problem with the subscription model is the size of our country. In countries such as the USA a subscription model(as with HBO) can work brilliantly because a lot of money can be made on a relatively small percentage of the population. That percentage is about 60-80% of our population and i seriously doubt that many people would voluntarily pay for their subscription to what would become a substandard media outlet, or something a-kin to ITV.

  • Comment number 85.

    TYPICAL OF BBC'S HITLERITE SUPPORTERS TO FOOL THE BRITISH PUBLIC:

    33. At 11:56am on 02 Aug 2010, Mark G wrote:
    The licence fee must be kept. The BBC is a national institution that must be kept at all costs. The fee is the most obvious way of buying into British culture. ....


    This is one instiution I would like to see abolished forthwith. Parasites are no better than benefit scroungers!!

    We need another IDS to think of the unthinkable and sell off BBC and free 24 milllions family from payment of £145 that is being misappropriated.

  • Comment number 86.

    29. At 11:46am on 02 Aug 2010, Sykes wrote:
    "The BBC should be proud of itself. In their 10 year long anti-Israel project, they have managed to change the British public from being generally pro-Israel to being anti-Israel. Although when you're a media funded by a compulsory tax and have endless wealth, it's quite easy to conduct a hate campaign full of lies and distortion. Scrap the license fee."

    Yes the BBC is so anti-Israel that it refused to broadcast the DEC Gaza appeal. Seems that Zionists are gunning for every organisation that doesn't follow the same Likudist line as the Jerusalem Post, hence their accusations against the BBC, Reuters (trying to replace its management), Kofi Annan, Richard Goldstone, Amnesty International etc. The Zionist methodology is that when AIPAC-style bribery doesn't work you resort to name-calling, subversion and destruction. Frankly I think we should keep the licence fee if only to annoy people like you.

  • Comment number 87.

    The BBC exists to serves the people, the people don't exist to serve the BBC, it's the only service out of hundreds where we are not subject to hours of in-your-face advertising. The BBC should focus on quality programming, not money grabbing. If the BBC can't afford "talent" like Jonathan Ross, maybe look for new talent? Maybe take a chance on new ideas? Maybe focus on interesting documentaries, dramas and comedy rather than mind numbing soaps and auction programmes?

  • Comment number 88.

    Anyone else get the impression that we are being 'buttered up' for an announcement by the government about cuts to the BBC and changes to its charter? There are just too many of these right-wing thinktanks with ties to the Conservative Party releasing these reports lately.

  • Comment number 89.

    I already pay a TV subscription to Virgin media, everyday there a multitude of channels showing BBC made tv programs, such as Dave, Blighty, eden, and far too many to list to be honnest, the licence requirement should in my opinion be for those that are not already paying for a tv subscription service like cable or sky. In the basic package from all tv subscription services all of the BBC channels are included . The amount of money the BBC wastes is terrible and the wages of the presenters is shocking for a public service broadcaster, £92'000 for a news reader is reading a teleprompter is really that hard, and its not a skill either.
    I do not watch the bbc on my tv i watch online and i have done when on holiday in other nations so it is not available to only those in the uk. If you believe that the service is only viewable free online to those in the uk only your definately living in cloud cuckoo land. Your location is defined by your computer ip address and there are plenty of small programs available from reputable software sites like cnet and freewarefile.com that will set your ip address to any global location you require enabling you to view tv catchup services from anywhere on the globe. Having said that if its available free for anyone else on the planet why should people in the uk pay.

  • Comment number 90.

    The license fee is certainly out dated and needs replacing with other forms of funding, but public donation (such as exists with PBS in the USA) isn't the way forward. Most of us, me included would simply watch for free!

    Surely it's better to part-commercialise the BBC thus:-

    Keep the core public service broadcast services free of commercials or encryption.

    BBC originated documentaries and light entertainment could be financed by a combination of sponsorship and commercials - but only at the start and end of programmes, where the BBC advertising is now.

    Sport and bought in productions, such as movies should be moved to s separate digital platform and subscribed to by viewers.

    Radios 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and the Asian Network should become commercial. R4 should remain free of commercials / sponsorship. BBC local radio should be sold off to the commercial sector. Does anyone actually listen to R3? (!).

    The I-Player should be a subscription service.

    That should enable to core public service remit to remain, whilst the entertainment service becomes commercial.

  • Comment number 91.

    The license fee should be replaced with an internet tax, part fixed and part variable cost.

    For most people this payment would be the same. Those without a TV and therefore no TV license but using broadband (e.g. to view iPlayer) would have to now pay.

    The variable additional cost would be triggered on heavier usage, with a cap to avoid "billshock".

    The collecting body would be called The Rights Agency and would merge TV Licensing, MCPS, PRS, PRSForMusic, FACT and other performing rights or works royalties collecting bodies and Ofcom. This would provide cost savings through efficiency and simplification for rewarding creators of all works and material. The simplicity would also encourage micro-broadcasters and others who want to re-publish material - by making it simpler for them to understand what they need to pay the artists/creators.

    The money collected would be split between the BBC, development of faster more reliable internet at home and on mobile, for artists benevolent funds and local live venues hosting art drama and music.

    Subscription services have a flaw in that they don't support serendipity - they rely on the fact that people already know what they want to pay for. A license fee gives the BBC an opportunity to experiment and take risks with new ideas that people might like.

  • Comment number 92.

    Further to my previous comment, I would like to see programmes like EastEnders axed to save money and news, current affairs and mainstream entertainment programmes increased. I would prefer my Licence Fee to be going towards the BBC News department and not inside the back pocket of an EastEnders actor.

  • Comment number 93.

    As far as england being a nation of anti-semites this is nonsense what they mean is England is a nation of peoples who know the full history of the conflict and are aware of the illegal actions of an aggressive expansionist nation that constantly provoke acts of violence by the way they treat the legitimate owners of the land they have illegally annexed and occupy.
    Also i would add and READ THIS SLOWLY, Israel is a land of many religions not only jews but christians and muslims too.I am a NONTHEIST Theologian i understand the origins of the 4 main religions and i also fully understand the real history and origins of humanity and the notion that any group are the chosen people of a sky being are an insult to anyones intelligence. People were living in the british isles hundreds of thousands of years prior to the pyramids going up, we also know from archaeology that the exodus out of egypt didnt happen either. You cant base a policy on a religious belief especially when the historical facts point to the real truth that it is all man made.

  • Comment number 94.

    No. Yes. Yes.

    The right wing think tank the Adam Smith Institute are almost idealogically bound to conclude that everything should be paid for by voluntary contribution, the state should be abolished, except for the bit that protect landowners and the rich (which is essentially why the State was founded in the first place, to administer the Monarch's Land) and that public services should probably, in a right wing think tank Adam Smith Institute's ideal world, be run by charity. You could have well meaning rich people sitting in jugement on the poor and deciding whether or not their kids will eat this week.

    Forward to 1832 everyone!!

  • Comment number 95.

    The fact hat Sky can charge subs and show ads is totally unfair.

    Their revenues are now such that they win too many sports contracts and when you also consider that they do not actually make any programmes of their own they are a very poor value for money service.

    And ummm... the ads are so loud you have to mute them.

    The BBC do make quality programmes but the fact is that the cost of administering TV licensing is excessive. It made sense when only a proportion of the population had YVs but now that they are all but universal it no longer makes sense to have the public sector overhead of collection and the faffing around with yet more red tape for the citizens.

    The BBC should be funded directly by government but also consideration should be given to funding from advertising or by voluntary subscription (but not both).

    The reason I mentioned Sky above is that if they are forced to follow the same model as other companies where they choose one or the other then there will be more advertising revenue to go round. And the prices to buy a sports contract will drop. This is good for many games, strangely, since the TV money sloshing into games like football are widely regarded as the reasons the sport is going to the dogs.


    At a time when we are looking to reduce the public sector without cutting "front line" services, surely this has to be the right way to do that?

  • Comment number 96.

    Im 51 and the subject of BBC funding has been discussed for decades, but the license fee remains in place.

    I cannot forsee there being enough advertising space available to fund ITV, Sky (part fund) and the BBC.

    Either the license fee stays in place or another system is looked at. I have no objection to the license fee, though I do object that there are those who dont pay and the BBC has to pay to chase the non-payers.

    I presume Sky's arrears are far less than the BBC's....

  • Comment number 97.

    Why not do something extraordinary and leave things as they are, it has worked perfectly up to now anything else will cost more.

  • Comment number 98.

    Some people really are gullible. `Virgin TV comes free with my phone. So does Sky'. Really? I suppose in the same way BBC radio comes free with your TV licence? Yes, the BBC should certainly cut its managment costs and indeed the size of management just like other public organisations are now being forced to do. But for an annual licence fee that covers TV and radio services of such a wide variety the BBC remains excellent value - and appears to be one of the few organisations these days that actually makes GOOD programmes of its own (rather than buying them off the shelf from America). The arrival of digital may have widened the choice of channels but it hasn't done a lot (if anything) to widen the choice of programmes. Without a properly funded BBC, choice across the whole of TV will nose-dive even further.

  • Comment number 99.

    Any proposal for reform of TV licensing seems to be about pay-back time to Murdoch & Newscorp for supporting the Conservative party in the General Election rather than a genuine concern for quality broadcasting.
    Defend the BBC.

  • Comment number 100.

    Answer to questions is: Absolutely not, yes, yes.
    Having seen what other countries have to offer, I think that for all its faults the BBC is far and away the best model I've seen.
    TV delivery over internet is a red herring; I can't imagine there's many families settle down in front of the PC to watch the telly and we're years away from widespread availability of internet enabled tv's connected to fast, reliable broadband.
    Commercial tv is increasingly less watchable and we rarely watch live tv on it now - instead we use a PVR to fast forward through the ads although, very irritatingly, they're even starting to ruin the endings of programmes by displaying advertisements over RUNNING programmes (and I've noticed a tendency for the Beeb to experiment with this, particularly on 3 & 4 - please, please don't go that route).
    The free marketers don't like it because the BBC delivers a hugely competitive product at two thirds the cost of, for example, a basic Sky subscription (and Sky get advertising revenue on top of that!) I know who I think's got the most money washing around, the only difference with Sky is it goes into some unaccountable shareholder's pocket.

 

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