Once again, to recap, Three of the BBC’s public purposes as set out in its Royal Charter are:
In the first of these two posts, we discuss how the BBC is truly public broadcasting on a global scale supported by public funding. In the Second, we deal with the official attitude of BBC management to this reality, which is to try and deny it. In this one, we are going to talk about a more positive method to try to get public support.
So, while the BBC says it is cash strapped, they have a far larger budget than US Public Broadcasting. In fact, I believe that the percentage of people who support the BBC through licence fees is far better than support US Public Broadcasting through the extort-a-thon pledge drives. Despite this, the BBC believes it makes sense to have the TV licence system brow beat the British Public into paying for the service.
BUT, I support the licensing system, not the method by which it tries to get people to support it.
The BBC is a British institution. I would say it is probably more important than the monarchy, which–given that I am a Royalist–is saying a lot about how important the BBC is to British Culture. As I said in another post, the fact that “Captain UKIP” is not an ardent supporter of the Beeb makes me truly question how much he supports the UK and its culture. But, I have my opinions about the UKIP as well and they are not good, but that’s not germane to this post.
The BBC should emphasise how much of a British Institution it is and was intended to be. It is the public face of Britain, which is one of the many problems it has when it tries to block its material from anyone, or seem authoritiarian in getting people to pay their licence fees..
Of course, I think the BBC should be willing to follow one point in the US Public Broadcasting paradigm, which is to accept the support of its public. And since that public is worldwide, they should accept it from the world–Not just Britain. But, they also shouldn’t have to resort to extort-a-thons either.
Of course, there are other ways that the BBC could get more funds besides solely relying upon licence fees. One of the categories of these posts is the BBC archives. This is for good reason, how much material isn’t released on DVD for various reasons? For example, the BBC has this institutional hate for the Goodies and have been pretty bad about releasing their material on DVD. That’s a topic I’ve covered before.
Of course, BBC archival policies have led to the loss of some classic TV. I’ve mentioned how the BBC destroyed some classic programmes, which can be researched at these sites:
Fortunately, not everyone was as short sited about this material, but it didn’t survive through the efforts of the BBC. Can the BBC release things such as “Take Three Girls”, “The Reivers”, and so on, or are they lost forever? Is that a lost revenue stream for them?
If the major problem to this is that there are right’s holders in other countries which would block the iPlayer downloads, then these other rights holders should start trying to make the material more widely available. Direct TV in the US has “ethnic” packages, why not ptovide British TV to US audiences (other than some of the other digital rights issues involved)? Isn’t it the remit of the BBC to make sure this material is as widely seen as is possible? I know that the BBC has satellite coverage for most of the world.
The problem with making people pay for iPlayer material is that some of them have already paid the licence fee, but what about paying for accessing some of the archival material (e.g., the BBC 4 Talk Collection)? Also, why not try to get the material (such as the Goodies) out officially, rather than the bootleg versions one can find on the internet?
Also, what about the people who use iPlayer material, but don’t jhave a licence? I know that BBC management would like to get them to pay their fair share, which is the topic of the next post.
Does the BBC need the money or not? What is the best way to try and collect it?