Future funding of the BBC: Trust publishes detailed consultation and research findings

Date: 16.10.2015     Last updated: 13.11.2015 at 15.45

The BBC Trust has published independently-analysed public consultation and research findings on future funding options for the BBC, which show that the public supports a universal system, with a modernised licence fee being the single most popular funding method:

Technical Annex C: Funding, PDF (796KB)

The Government’s Green Paper on the BBC’s Charter Review sought views on three options for BBC funding: the continuation of the licence fee, modernised to take account of iPlayer; a universal household fee, where every household pays regardless of TV ownership; and a combination of public funding and subscription-based services.  

The Trust ran a public consultation from 22 July to 18 September, plus independent audience research and independent focus group research.  

Key findings include:  

  • 53% of the people who contributed to the public consultation supported a modernised licence fee, with only 16% in favour of a part-subscription model and 53% opposed to it. 
  • In quantitative audience research, less than a quarter favoured a part-subscription model, while nearly 60% favoured a universal model of public funding.

Independent analysis by ICM Unlimited of all the consultation responses suggests that support for the licence fee was underpinned by the idea of universality, with access to the BBC available to all.  The licence fee is regarded as a tried and tested system that does not need radical overhaul.  Quantitative audience research by ICM found that support for the licence fee was most commonly driven by the idea that it is a fair system, with everyone paying and everyone using some BBC services. 

There was opposition to subscription in the audience research as the BBC is seen to be ‘for everyone’ and there was some concern about which services would be free for all versus subscription, and who would decide. 

Today’s publication of the findings comes ahead of a public seminar held by the BBC Trust this afternoon on future funding of the BBC.  

At the event, BBC Trust Chairman Rona Fairhead will say: 

“The BBC has always been a universal public service broadcaster and the public have told us in their thousands that they want it to stay that way.  They back a modernised licence fee over other ways of funding the BBC, and there are real concerns about any system involving subscription.”

The consultation and research findings published today informed the Trust’s formal submission to the Government on Charter Review, published on 8 October.

In the coming weeks the Trust will publish the consultation results and research on the other areas we have explored as part of our Charter Review work. 

Notes to Editors

  1. The Trust has published the full methodology for each piece of independent analysis and research, and all of the questions asked in the public consultation and qualitative and quantitative research, including those on funding.
  2. The Trust is holding a series of public seminars as part of the Charter Review consultation process.
  3. The total number of responses received to the Trust’s public consultation was 40,058.  Not all respondents answered all the consultation questions; the 38,784 people on which the consultation findings in relation to funding are based, are those who answered this question in our online consultation, by mobile or in writing. 
  4. 2,908 people took part in the quantitative research conducted by ICM Unlimited
  5. 128 people took part in qualitative research (focus groups) conducted by MTM.