Wherever you are: you’re with the BBC (Part II)

I want to reiterate some things I mentioned in Part I of this:

Two of the BBC’s public purposes as set out in its Royal Charter are:

In Ye Olden Dayes, the BBC Motto was “Nation shall speak peace unto Nation”.  I don’t think it has changed.

In this post, we deal with the topic of funding the BBC, in particular the licence fee. The BBC’s Website says that one does not need a licence if “you watch or record TV as it’s being broadcast”:

That’s also reiterated on Peter’s blog, and confirmed by someone at the BBC. Who said:

“I’m afraid you can’t pay a TV licence if you live outside the UK, but you shouldn’t be able to access the iPlayer either so I am intrigued!

Unfortunately, due to the miracle of the Internet, you can get this material from anywhere in the world. So, not only does  one who access the BBC material from outside they UK not have to pay a licence fee, they won’t take your money.

Additionally, blocking movement in the modern world, especially via internet is pretty hard.  Government can track it to some extent, but it is hard to block.  Which should fit into the BBC’s mission if you ask me, but some at the Beeb officially disagree (some unofficially admit that I am correct–more about that in a later post) as the comment above points out.

I pointed out to my contact at the Beeb that it depends on which iPlayer material one is talking about–radio is open to non-UK residents. In fact, my internet radio is mostly BBC, with the exception of Classic FM.  Classic FM is less tetchy about who listens as well, only requiring one to input a British Post Code to access it!

If even that!

But, Televised material. Well, that is another topic. It is indeed available to users outside the UK. I’d prefer not to say  of accessing it since the BBC would upset quite a few people in the UK if they tried shutting it down.  In fact, the boffins have tried shutting down the method that one can access BBC material when outside the UK, which was an experiment that lasted less than a day!  Or even a few hours at that matter.

In old fashioned broadcasting terms, the way someone is able to access this material roughly the equivalent of not being able to block TV/radio signals from going where they will. It can be done, but you also risk blocking the signal of your internal audience (i.e., those who are paying their licence fees).  Although, there ia another BBC purpose which they run afoul of if they try to keep people from outside the UK accessing the iPlayer material:  Delivering to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services.

So,  trying to block access violates three public purposes as set out in the BBC’s Royal Charter mentioned above.  It is totally counterproductive for the BBC’s mission statement to block access to its material.

Nope, no one living here--I guess I can't get a Television Licence!

Not to mention, they end up with egg on their faces when it comes out that they tried something as silly as that.  That’s what China does, not Britain!

The reason I contacted the BBC is because I blog about UK TV licensing. One of my pro-licensing posts was commented upon by Peter who runs the blogspot blog on TV licensing. It seems there are those within the UK who don’t want to pay their fair share.

Unlike our TV license resisting crowd,There are people who are willing to pony up since I am using the service. I mentioned that I was thinking of using the address to apply for a licence to see what would happen:

21 Framley Road
Effing Sodbury TL3 8RZ

TL3 8RZ being the Post Code used in a BBC Weather advert, which is one of my high ranking blog posts.  Of course, I could use the street in the weather advert

Of course, an alternative address is

1 Buckingham Palace Road
London SW1A 1AA

It would be amusing to see the licensing folks face when they need to contact that one!

I do have a couple of Scottish and UK Addresses given I have property there, but  the Scottish ones are undeveloped land (oops, property is not occupied).  I’d love to see the face on the TV Detector van crew if they decided to bust that property!  The problem with using a IK address is that you need to have someone who is willing to field any mail.

In fact, the BBC website. linked to my Anna Nicole The Opera post  since I say:

I’m not sure I would want to pay Covent Garden prices to see this, but it will definitely be worth the TV Licence fees on the BBC!

Thank you, Auntie! yer darn tootin’ I added it to my iPlayer playlist!

If one considers, that the cost of a licence is only 149.50, that is less than a good ticket to see a Covent Garden production.  And you don’t feel too bad if you walk out after 15 minutes!

Unlike US Public Broadcasting, who are willing to take the money since they know they need it–The BBC are turning people away!  Maybe they have too large a budget that they can avoid all the ways to make money that they do.

Of course, as Peter who runs the blogspot site, will happily tell me, as long as one is not watching the material when it’s being broadcast (sort of difficult), one doesn’t need a licence–even within the UK.  He probably thinks that this post is a bit mad as well–why support the BBC if you don’t absolutely HAVE to (which is the topic of Part III).

Like it or not, the BBC is not just a UK broadcasting service, its mission is to broadcast to the world.  In a way, it is part of the heritage of Empire that people from outside the UK will feel an affinity for it, The BBC should be thankful when the world is willing to give back to them.

Of course, there is a schizophrenia in the BBC institution between the World Service and Internal BBC.  I believe at one time, the World Service was under the auspices of the Foreign Office (now, it’s the World Service Trust, as opposed to the BBC Trust).  And while Nations may speak unto Nation, I don’t think that Internal and Externals Services talk unto each other.  Additionally, I don’t think that the internal services realise that they also serve the ex-pat community and Brits abroad on holiday–whether they like it or not.

Perhaps, the internal services should do a bit more market research on their audience–and accept comments from ALL their users, not just UK residents.

See also:

P.S. I also advocate the use of region free DVD and Blu-ray players.

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