BBC audiences to have say on channels as part of TV review

David Liddiment: "The licence fee places a great obligation on the BBC"

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TV audiences have been invited to air their views on BBC One, Two, Three and Four as the BBC Trust announces its largest review into the channels.

The Trust's "most ambitious" review will combine all four BBC channels for the first time, including a three-month public consultation.

As the BBC's governing body, the Trust's role is to ensure licence fee payers get the best value for money.

Public consultation will close in February 2014.

The Trust will also carry out audience research over the following months.

Due in summer 2014, the review will assess whether each channel fulfils its licence agreement, which sets out what the public can expect of each BBC service.

The review will also look at what the channels' future direction should be.

Sweat the Small Stuff Nick Grimshaw's Sweat the Small Stuff targets a younger audience on BBC Three

The Trust will answer whether the channels are delivering quality content across a range of genres, and how each demographic is being catered for.

"The licence fee places a great obligation on the BBC to be bolder than other broadcasters in delivering ambitious and distinctive programmes for its audiences," said BBC Trustee David Liddiment.

The review will also explore how each channel is responding to changes in audience expectations and the way they view programmes, in response to new technology.

"In this fully digital age the television landscape is changing dramatically and BBC television can be viewed anytime, anywhere, on pretty much any device and our viewers have never been more discerning," said BBC Trustee Suzanna Taverne.

"We want to make sure the BBC is delivering the highest quality content to all audiences; however they choose to access it," she added.

Younger audiences

"We'd encourage those who watch BBC television to get in touch through our consultation to tell us how they think these four channels are doing."

This is the Trust's second review of BBC Television but the first to look at these four channels together.

BBC One, Two and Four were reviewed in 2010 and BBC Three in 2009 as part of the Trust's review into younger audiences.

A separate review of BBC network news and current affairs was launched in September 2013, so it will not be considered in this review.

Local newspapers concern

Meanwhile Home Secretary Theresa May has warned that the "might of the BBC" and its online news operation is undermining local newspapers.

"If the BBC can provide all the locally-significant news, what reason is left for local people to buy a newspaper?" said the Conservative MP, during a speech at the Society of Editors conference in London on Monday.

"That's as dangerous for local politics as it is for local journalism," reported the Guardian and Telegraph newspapers.

"There is a real need for the BBC to think about its own position and what it is doing and the impact it has," said May.

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