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22.08.03

ABOUT THE BBC


BBC response to Tony Ball, Chief Executive of BSkyB, giving the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture 2003


We are flattered that Tony Ball should be so preoccupied with the BBC but his comments have to be seen in the context of Rupert Murdoch's long and hostile campaign against the BBC.


Thankfully, for the British public, Mr Murdoch has not been successful in this campaign.


The BBC has recently commissioned its own research about how people value the programmes and services we provide and it gives a very different picture to Sky's poll.


The new research, commissioned in July from Taylor Nelson Sofres from a base of 1,000 people, shows that:


• 86% of people would 'stand up for the BBC' – compared to 30% for Sky


• 82% are very happy or happy with the BBC the way it is


• 75% believe the BBC is important to British culture


The BBC's in-depth, ongoing, monthly tracking of audience attitudes also shows a different picture with audience approval for the BBC running at a record high this year.


The BBC wants audiences to feel they are getting good value for 32p a day from the BBC's eight TV networks, 10 radio networks and 46 national and regional radio stations, plus BBCi and interactive TV especially compared to over £1 a day for Sky's top subscription package.


This speech clearly reflects BSkyB's view that programmes are merely a commodity to be bought and sold.


The BBC – and probably the majority of British broadcasters and producers – believe programmes are about creativity, talent and broader cultural and social influences.


It is worth noting that according to the latest figures just 5% of all UK pay TV revenue is invested in original programming, compared to 60% of the BBC's income.


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