BBC DG Mark Thompson stresses importance of funding for digital switchover

MUMBAI: Realistic funding through a new, long term licence fee settlement is essential if the BBC is to fulfil the Government's ambitious goal for digital switchover laid down in the new 10 year BBC Charter. This is the message that BBC DG Mark Thompson has sent out..

"Few people outside the industry have registered the scale of task – or the scale of the money required. This is a project of great size and intricacy. The risks are formidable. If it is under resourced it will fail. It's a simple as that – and the failure will impact on many millions of households," Thompson said in a speech at the Smith Institute.

"If all that was wanted in the new Charter was a steady-state BBC with the same line up of services and the same level of quality, we could deliver that well within our current resources. If you want a BBC which does no more than it is currently doing, then a budget that reduces in real terms - RPI-minus - is the right settlement."

Thmpson points out that a tough regime of productivity and cost reduction within the BBC over recent years will release an additional £355 million per year for new investment from 2008 – a total of £3bn over the next Charter. He adds that recent benchmarking and independent reports show the BBC is close to the 'efficiency frontier' and its proposals for continuous efficiency improvements should keep it there.

However to deliver the full mission set out by the Government the BBC could only fund 70 per cent of the costs itself though savings and efficiencies. thompson notes that the BBC needs additional net investment to fund the rest of the plans that successive reports have shown the public understands and is willing to pay for.

He said that the BBC's current licence fee bid could reduce to around RPI +1.8% (from RPI +2.3%) if, among other factors, the broadcasting regulator Ofcom decided not to levy a spectrum tax on the BBC over the next licence settlement period.

This would mean a licence fee of £149 in 2013/14 in today's prices, well below the £162.66 that the recent Work Foundation report commissioned by the Government says that licence payers would be wiling to pay. This bid would still include the wider broadcasting industry costs of switchover and building the digital transmission network for both TV and radio as well as investment in planned new digital access services through on demand and mobile.

The bid does not include the costs of targeted help for the most vulnerable which need to be ring-fenced but that the Government have said will be paid through the licence fee. He adds, "Historically the most powerful argument for a relatively long settlement has been a guarantor of the BBC's independence. Digital switchover will take place over the next seven years. The BBC's mission over the next seven years is crystal clear in the White Paper. There is a powerful case for settling the BBC's funding for the same period."

Thompson stressed that, in the event of a low settlement, the new BBC Trust would have to make some difficult decisions about what not to do, in the interests of public value and the BBC's current £1bn a year investment in the UK's wider creative industries. "We can't do everything. We can't rob existing core services to pay for switchover."

He said that in the event of a low settlement, he would not be able to recommend to the Trust that the BBC should go ahead with the transformational plan for creativity and jobs in the North based around a new broadcast centre in Salford. "We would have to find other, more modest ways of increasing our investment in the North."

In terms of public value he said: "Benchmarked against most of the public sector, the BBC has demonstrated one of the strongest and most consistent records of delivery. "It is wrestling with many of the same issues as the rest of the public sector, how to reform and modernise; how to drive efficiencies and improve quality at the same time. But it's still a success story in terms of delivery, public confidence and the ability to change and re-invent itself."

Latest Reads
Star Movies presents 'Films To See...' every weekday starting 7 Nov

Star Movies Select HD has been staying true to its promise of impeccable curation by showcasing the best. Star Movies sets standards of storytelling high inspiring a lot of others to try and re-invent the art of movie showcasing business.

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Q2-17: Zee Media operating profit up

BENGALURU: The Essel Group’s news network Zee Media Corporation Limited (ZMCL) reported more than double (2.47 times) year-over-year (y-o-y) operating profit (Simple EBIDTA) for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter) . The company reported EBIDTA of Rs 18 crore (14.3 per cent...

Television TV Channels GECs
National Geographic Channel to undergo major rebranding

MUMBAI: Come 14 November and the National Geographic Channel will have a new shortened sobriquet. The word channel will disappear from its name and it will be simply known as National Geographic and a new tagline “Further.” The change is expected to take place simultaneously across all the 445...

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Maha Cartoon targets 65 per cent rural HSM via DD FreeDish, 2000 LCOs

Who can forget the Charlie Chaplin show which entertained the world audience of all ages. Maha Cartoon, the first free-to-air (FTA) Hindi cartoon channel targeted at the Hindi-speaking markets (HSM), will be launched on India's largest DTH platform DD FreeDish on 1 November. The new Maha Cartoon...

Television TV Channels Kids
Vikram Chandra steps down; KVL Narayan Rao is new NDTV group CEO

The rumours that were making rounds of Vikram Chandra quitting NDTV have now been put to rest.

Television TV Channels People
Naagin helps Colors capture top position this week: BARC

Backed by Naagin Season 2, Colors was almost close to Star Plus to get the number one position, but, this week, Colors went few steps ahead and grabbed the leadership position and replaced Star Plus in week 42. Even in Urban GECs market, Colors toppled Star and took over the number one position.

Television TV Channels Viewership
SPN India to broadcast Barclays ATP World Tour finals

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) will exclusively broadcast the upcoming ATP events in the month of November. The ATP 1000 Paris Masters will be aired live on Sony ESPN channels and will be streamed live on SonyLIV app and website. The ATP 1000 Paris Masters in Paris will begin on 31 October.

Television TV Channels Sports
Hunt for Zee Business head continues

MUMBAI: Zee Business, an arm of Zee Media Corporation, has seen several transitions in its management this year. The channel was initially headed by Amish Devgan, who decided to move away after serving for 14 years. It was then led by Zee Media Corporation’s then CEO for content Samir Ahluwalia,who...

Television TV Channels People
'King' content will take over monopolistic media entities, says Arnab Goswami

NEW DELHI: The future of news lies in breaking away from the interdependence of politicians and the media on each other.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories