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BBC licence fee should be scrapped, says thinktank

The Adam Smith Institute advises replacing the £145 annual fee with a voluntary subscription service

* Mark Sweney

* guardian.co.uk, Monday 2 August 2010 12.40 BST

The £3.5bn annual BBC licence fee should be scrapped and replaced with a voluntary subscription service, initially charging £145 a year, according to a report by the thinktank the Adam Smith Institute.

The report, Global Player or Subsidy Junkie? Decision time for the BBC, reckons that the corporation could be offered a "transitional guarantee" of income from 2012 when viewers would first be told they did not have to pay the licence fee any more and could move to the voluntary subscription model.

An interim annual fee of £145 – the current level of the licence fee – would be charged up to 2015, the report proposes, after which BBC services would become subscription-only.

"Over a transitional period, subscriptions would replace licences as they fall due," the report said. "During this period, BBC would retain all its current privileges with a fixed sum allocated by government to cover possible licence fee losses. This should ensure little change in current output over the interim phase."

The report argues that moving away from the licence fee will benefit the wider media industry and force the BBC to become a more internationally-focused operation.

David Graham, the report's author and a former BBC producer who now runs the media consultancy Attentional, said that the BBC "invests heavily in opinion management and capturing UK regulators rather than looking outwards towards the international media market".

"Continuing with the current funding model means justified hostility from the rest of the industry, contraction and decline for the BBC," he added. "The new government seems ready to rethink fundamentals. I hope this paper will help to encourage a serious debate, at a critical time, about a very important British institution."

The report said that the licence fee should be scrapped because it "criminalises poor people"; is an enforced payment system for services that are available elsewhere for free through advertiser funding; and that it makes the corporation beholden to a "crude commercial model based on mass-audience advertising".

"The hostility of its competitors is justified," added the report. "Continued commitment to subsidy via the licence fee will mean contraction and decline."

The report argues that the government needs "take back responsibility" for defining what is core public service content, that which the BBC should focus on which would "cost a fraction of the current licence fee". Core public service content would include news, but not entertainment genres or most documentary and factual output. Monitoring of "public service" would come from a specialist unit in government.

In terms of the licence fee the report argues that the BBC would, over a "limited period of time", allow licence fee payers to "either lapse or switch to voluntary subscription".

Please let this be adopted as a private member's bill. There are (small) bits of the BBC I would pay for - Sherlock, Top Gear, Dr Who - but the great majority of it is rubbish, even more downmarket than ITV2. If soembody wants to watch talent contests hosted by grinning monkeys or Eastenders then that's fine, but I leave them to pay for it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/aug/02/bbc-licence-free-scrapped-thinktank

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In these matters I look to see where the money is. Might this help the Times get more subscribers by putting BBC news behind a paywall, might it minimise Sky's competitor behind a paywall? Who makes more money if this happens?

So cynical me is thinking this is Murdoch's think tank cronies agitating to expand his business.

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Please let this be adopted as a private member's bill. There are (small) bits of the BBC I would pay for - Sherlock, Top Gear, Dr Who - but the great majority of it is rubbish, even more downmarket than ITV2. If soembody wants to watch talent contests hosted by grinning monkeys or Eastenders then that's fine, but I leave them to pay for it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/aug/02/bbc-licence-free-scrapped-thinktank

This part was priceless:

"The £3.5bn annual BBC licence fee should be scrapped and replaced with a voluntary subscription service, initially charging £145 a year "

:lol::lol::lol:

Brilliant. Putting it like that surely made even the BBC staff realise that no-fecking-body would voluntarily pay this amount to them - hence: the BBC fee is not worth it!

Genius. :)

Good post.

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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(Repost from a previous thread)

The BBC is great value for money, you get

BBC1, BBC2, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies, CBBC, BBC News

Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 + loads of regional BBC radio stations, BBC World Service

BBC Online

All for £12 a month.

Compare that to Sky TV (which you pay for and still have adverts) and it's amazing value.

If you don't have a TV then you don't have to pay for a licence anyway.

If you do watch TV, odds are you do listen to or watch a BBC station at some point, so you have no cause to argue.

I've known people argue against the licence fee, they don't have a TV in their house, yet when they come round and my TV is on they're like crack addicts glued to it.

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(Repost from a previous thread)

The BBC is great value for money, you get

BBC1, BBC2, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies, CBBC, BBC News

Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 + loads of regional BBC radio stations, BBC World Service

BBC Online

All for £12 a month.

Compare that to Sky TV (which you pay for and still have adverts) and it's amazing value.

If you don't have a TV then you don't have to pay for a licence anyway.

If you do watch TV, odds are you do listen to or watch a BBC station at some point, so you have no cause to argue.

I've known people argue against the licence fee, they don't have a TV in their house, yet when they come round and my TV is on they're like crack addicts glued to it.

Great - I'm sure they will have lots of voluntary subscribers then!

Those who don't want it, can keep their money in their pockets.

Win, win, right?

If you pay per channel, that would be even better too. Lots of lovely, voluntary, choice then.

P.S. Regarding the crack addicts bit, that's probably a clue as to why they don't have one!

Edited by Traktion

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Great - I'm sure they will have lots of voluntary subscribers then!

No, because we know what human nature is, and people will get away without paying for whatever they can get their grubby mitts on.

The BBC is a bit like the NHS, we all contribute for the greater good, even if we don't use it as much as others.

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No, because we know what human nature is, and people will get away without paying for whatever they can get their grubby mitts on.

The BBC is a bit like the NHS, we all contribute for the greater good, even if we don't use it as much as others.

+1

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(Repost from a previous thread)

The BBC is great value for money, you get

BBC1, BBC2, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies, CBBC, BBC News

or

SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, Baked Beans, SPAM

... but I dont like SPAM !

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(Repost from a previous thread)

The BBC is great value for money...

In which case the public will be willing to pay for it voluntarily (rather than being forced to in order to be able to watch its competitors' output without breaking the law) and you should have nothing to fear from this proposal.

Britain is the last major developed country to fund its state broadcaster in this way. Reith's socialist control freakery and anti-American xenophobia (a lot of his enthusiasm for the licence funding model stemmed from his hatred of the commercial nature of American broadcasting) might have had some justification in 1926, when the licence fee was introduced, but not now.

Edited by The Ayatollah Buggeri

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(Repost from a previous thread)

The BBC is great value for money, you get

BBC1, BBC2, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies, CBBC, BBC News

Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 + loads of regional BBC radio stations, BBC World Service

BBC Online

All for £12 a month.

It is pretty good value and for all the shows I avoid there are plenty I will watch, films too.

It is the perception of waste that is my problem, hundreds of people getting paid vast amounts at the corporate level especially.

I dont mind paying for 'talent' (actors, directors certain presenters etc) but do object strongly with the example of the BBC News 24 presenter who was paid ~£90K for presenting the news on a channel that few people watch.

I am a big fan of the BBC local radio services who seem to almost universally to excellent jobs particularly in the more rural parts of the UK who barely get a mention on the national news. These kind of services would never happen in the commerical sector.

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The BBC needs reform. I would welcome a more slimmed down version for a reduced fee. I think most people in the UK would as well. We do need the BBC though - turn on the TV in any country and you'll see why.

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(Repost from a previous thread)

The BBC is great value for money, you get

BBC1, BBC2, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies, CBBC, BBC News

Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 + loads of regional BBC radio stations, BBC World Service

BBC Online

All for £12 a month.

Compare that to Sky TV (which you pay for and still have adverts) and it's amazing value.

If you don't have a TV then you don't have to pay for a licence anyway.

If you do watch TV, odds are you do listen to or watch a BBC station at some point, so you have no cause to argue.

I've known people argue against the licence fee, they don't have a TV in their house, yet when they come round and my TV is on they're like crack addicts glued to it.

I don't pay for it now. Our tv broke 3 years ago and we've never bothered to replace it.

I listen to the radio a lot but no one's ever told me I needed a licence. Anyway, there are plenty of apps for that.

Funny thing is, I don't have time to watch tv now.

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The BBC is a bit like the NHS, we all contribute for the greater good, even if we don't use it as much as others.

The NHS been known to cure disease, mend broken bones etc. Most people see this as for the public good.

As for the BBC? Those that enjoy the delights of Eastenders should pay for it by subscription.

SUBSCRIPTION! BRING IT ON!

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(Repost from a previous thread)

The BBC is great value for money, you get

BBC1, BBC2, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies, CBBC, BBC News

Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 + loads of regional BBC radio stations, BBC World Service

BBC Online

All for £12 a month.

Compare that to Sky TV (which you pay for and still have adverts) and it's amazing value.

If you don't have a TV then you don't have to pay for a licence anyway.

If you do watch TV, odds are you do listen to or watch a BBC station at some point, so you have no cause to argue.

I've known people argue against the licence fee, they don't have a TV in their house, yet when they come round and my TV is on they're like crack addicts glued to it.

If it is really "great value for money" for viewers, then these viewers will pay for it, voluntarily.

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I don't pay for it now. Our tv broke 3 years ago and we've never bothered to replace it.

I listen to the radio a lot but no one's ever told me I needed a licence. Anyway, there are plenty of apps for that.

Funny thing is, I don't have time to watch tv now.

Ditto. I like some of the BBC's output, but most of it is simply sh*t. I'm not paying for Abramovich, Thomson etc pensions with my hard earned cash just to get a few low budget comedy shows, they can feck orf..

had my July threat-o-gram from BBC/TVL through last week- apparently I'm getting a visit soon..

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No, because we know what human nature is, and people will get away without paying for whatever they can get their grubby mitts on.

The BBC is a bit like the NHS, we all contribute for the greater good, even if we don't use it as much as others.

The BBC should be paying US for blocking up the airwaves with their leftist garbage, seriously. Some of their output is of the highest quality (which is unusual for a gov't monopoly) but their funding method is a total disagrace. If they cannot stand on their own two feet whilst paying rent for the natural resources that they're using then they should be allowed to fail, I don't see why I should pay £145 per year just to watch 6 episodes of Top Gear. I'd be better off just purchasing the dvd.

Edit to add: I can get all the news free from the internet anyway. There's precious little that the beeb offers that justifies the licence fee anymore.

Edited by Chef

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No, because we know what human nature is, and people will get away without paying for whatever they can get their grubby mitts on.

Subscription - don't pay, don't watch.

The BBC is a bit like the NHS, we all contribute for the greater good, even if we don't use it as much as others.

How does the BBC contributes for "the greater good"?

By "teaching the truth" by any chance?!

If you think so, how then would you scape from the "establishment's propaganda" argument?

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It is pretty good value and for all the shows I avoid there are plenty I will watch, films too.

It is the perception of waste that is my problem, hundreds of people getting paid vast amounts at the corporate level especially.

I dont mind paying for 'talent' (actors, directors certain presenters etc) but do object strongly with the example of the BBC News 24 presenter who was paid ~£90K for presenting the news on a channel that few people watch.

I am a big fan of the BBC local radio services who seem to almost universally to excellent jobs particularly in the more rural parts of the UK who barely get a mention on the national news. These kind of services would never happen in the commerical sector.

If the BBC were a normal, voluntary, subscription service, at £145/year, would you pay for it?

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So you decide what should and shouldn;t be paid for? Hmmm.

Personally, I'd rather pay a flat tax for BBC - though lower than it is - and they can do what they can with much reduced funding. That way we are assured (if part of the deal) of the best news reporting in the world - not saying its particularly good. But the alternatives... :angry: Very happy not to have Sky/Fox/CNBC/CNN style 'reporting'.

See what C4 does. That's under public remit and if it weren't?

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No, because we know what human nature is, and people will get away without paying for whatever they can get their grubby mitts on.

The BBC is a bit like the NHS, we all contribute for the greater good, even if we don't use it as much as others.

who says its the greater good

more examples of a brainwashed population please

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The BBC should be paying US for blocking up the airwaves with their leftist garbage, seriously. Some of their output is of the highest quality (which is unusual for a gov't monopoly) but their funding method is a total disagrace. If they cannot stand on their own two feet whilst paying rent for the natural resources that they're using then they should be allowed to fail, I don't see why I should pay £145 per year just to watch 6 episodes of Top Gear. I'd be better off just purchasing the dvd.

Edit to add: I can get all the news free from the internet anyway. There's precious little that the beeb offers that justifies the licence fee anymore.

+ 1

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Subscription - don't pay, don't watch.

Right, but that doesn't work so well for the radio does it ? And lets face it, who in their right mind listens to commercial radio ?

Not only that, if you then subscribe to channels you want you are restricted from idly browsing channels you maybe sometimes be interested in, but not enough for a full on subscription. Pay per view doesn't work, because people are conscious of paying, so will turn off before finding out if they like it.

How does the BBC contributes for "the greater good"?

Culture. It's not just for yoghurt. There's some great programming on BBC that wouldn't get funding if it was subscription based, and you'd never see on ITV, and yet is immensely educational.

Sure, people on hear complain about the soaps, I never watch them, but I wouldn't deny the great unwashed their fix.

It's about delivering all things for all people for a single fee. If you try pulling it apart by trying to pick and choose what is only of interest to you it doesn't work and it falls apart. Look at the programming on Sky for a good example of niche channels and their interminable repeats. I'm not talking about repeated every 6 months, I mean every day, day in, day out.

Yes, the news is left wing, but I try not to listen to that.

I pay far more in tax each year to the government and the local council for things I never see the benefit of before worrying about the tiny TV licence fee, and at least I get some enjoyment from it.

Edited by exiges

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So you decide what should and shouldn;t be paid for? Hmmm.

Personally, I'd rather pay a flat tax for BBC - though lower than it is - and they can do what they can with much reduced funding. That way we are assured (if part of the deal) of the best news reporting in the world - not saying its particularly good. But the alternatives... :angry: Very happy not to have Sky/Fox/CNBC/CNN style 'reporting'.

See what C4 does. That's under public remit and if it weren't?

The BBC news is too bias now. They keep protecting the public sector. Example: a few days ago they distorted some NHS news, implying that a (foreign) surgeon was at fault (children's hearts story), whilst he had actually been the whistle blower, and it had been systemic NHS failure. The ITV news reported it correctly. And that was just the last drop. They've been bias for a long time.

One of the few positive aspects of the BBC editorial line was an anti-racist, anti-xenophobe direction. Now, not even that.

This week I've removed all BBC News from my PVR schedule.

.

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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