Well I predicted this was coming yesterday http://ashleynorris.posterous.com/bbcs-mr-smug-comes-out-fighting but good to see the Tories finally saying they will restructure the BBC if they get elected. According to Conservative culture spokesman Jeremy Hunt the future of the licence fee could depend on the following
# A cap on top BBC executives’ pay of £192,250, (cheers from everyone)
# A block on inflationary increases to the licence fee, (ditto)
# Scrapping the BBC Trust, with powers transferred to an independent body – possibly Ofcom, (about time this worthless bunch of differs was pensioned off)
# BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, limited to promoting products overseas. Parts of it could be sold off, (genius move)
# Dominant online presence scaled back, (this is the bit we have been waiting for)
# Channels with low audiences, such as BBC3 and BBC4 shut down (not happy about this, but you can’t have everything)
The bad news is that I think that much of this has been driven by the Murdochs who have almost certainly hatched a deal with Cameron which will mean The Sun supports the Tories at the next election . http://ashleynorris.posterous.com/why-i-think-well-be-paying-for-the-bbc-news-w
The right wing press obviously loves this – the Mail was besides itself with excitement this morning and delivered an editorial which banged on about the Beeb getting a long overdue dose of reality.
It will however be interesting to see how the more liberal papers handle this.The Guardian has a fairly even-handed approach top the Beeb – however it is haemorrhaging so much money http://paidcontent.co.uk/article/419-earnings-guardian-media-group-swings-to-… and much of that is because it can’t properly monetise its web based activity. Were the BBC to rein in its online activities then it would certainly be a lifeline to The Guardian. There would be less competition for eyeballs for stories and more eyeballs means more ad impressions and more money.
Personally I would scale down the BBC’s online new activity and then also offer an opt in fee to access the sites which would be on top of the licence fee. Let’s say £30 a year. This would at least give an opportunity to existing heritage media and once again create a window for the odd content based start up.
The UK needs a rich and diverse media sector and unless the BBC’s online ambitions are curtailed we could see many long cherished media brands wither and die.