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back to article How can the BBC be saved from itself without destroying it?

Regardless of your opinion of the BBC today, the loss of an independent Beeb would be a loss to British public life. It's the BBC's independence that makes it unique - not, as it likes to insist, its funding from TV licence fees. Many countries have public-funded broadcasters that are bankrolled through a compulsory tax or levy …

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P_0

The BBC should become commercial and have all public funding taken away. It is filled with journalists, reporters, producers and managers who all have a left-wing, liberal, knee-jerk anti-establishment mentality, that I do not share, and I know many others who don't. So I resent paying any money to them.

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Or...

The Ministry of Defence should become commercial and have all public funding taken away. It is filled with soldiers, sailors and airmen who all have a right-wing, reactionary, knee-jerk pro-establishment mentality, that I do not share, and I know many others who don't. So I resent paying any money to them.

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On the other hand ....

... I, and just about everybody I know, do share the mentality you describe. Maybe I should get out more and meet a wider variety of people.

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Re: Or...

Did you just seriously compare a news and entertainment company to the people tasked with defending our borders?

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FAIL

Idiot - you dont cure the patient by killing him.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Or...

The Ministry of Defence isn't supposed to be impartial, the BBC is.

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"The BBC should become commercial"

Dear god, no, No, No, No, NO!

"anti-establishment mentality, that I do not share, and I know many others who don't. So I resent paying any money to them."

Aww, diddums. Did the big nasty Auntie ask you to consider an alternate point of view? Did she? Aww, issums itsy-wisty world view and little-wittle shakey-wakey? There, there little petal.

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Anonymous Coward

@P_0

Never mind, you've always got Fox for your right-wing knee jerk reactions

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Idiot - you dont cure the patient by killing him.

Depends on the patient and the disease.

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Did the big nasty Auntie ask you to consider an alternate point of view?

No, under threat of force she took my money and then gave me an over simplified point of view that pushed her own agenda. It's like being made to pay for Fox news, I mean I take it you do that so that you're made to consider an alternate point of view, or are you a hypocrite?

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Re: Or...

The Ministry of Defence should become commercial and have all public funding taken away. It is filled with soldiers, sailors and airmen who all have a right-wing, reactionary, knee-jerk pro-establishment mentality, that I do not share, and I know many others who don't. So I resent paying any money to them.

Ridiculous. The BBC is supposed to be an independent, unbiased insitution. It is not meant to be doling out climate change propaganda, be incessantly anti-tory (I'm not particularly pro-tory, but I can see the unfairness in BBC "journalism" over the last 10 years.) The McAlpine case is a classic case of "chickens coming home to roost." He should have sucked a hell of a lot more money from them. Perhaps it could come out of Newsnight producers' salaries.

It would be far better to privatize the who shambolic mess. Should probably get a fair bit of money for it. I mean Jonathan Ross is worth 6 million pounds alone.

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The BBC is totally beyond salvation.

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P_0

Idiot - you dont cure the patient by killing him.

The BBC is not the patient. It is the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away, feeding on the public. It shows us exactly the same "quality" entertainment as other commercial stations, with the difference that commercial stations don't charge us for it.

The only way to kill this foul being is a stake through the heart, or exposure to sunlight.

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Stop

Re: Did the big nasty Auntie ask you to consider an alternate point of view?

"under threat of force she took my money"

It's an empty threat.

link to previous comment: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1559698

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Re: Or...

"be incessantly anti-tory (I'm not particularly pro-tory, but I can see the unfairness in BBC "journalism" over the last 10 years.) "

When Labour were in, the Beeb was called "anti-Labour". Now a different set of Etonians are in power, they are "anti-Tory". Sounds like the Beeb is getting it just about right.

"Perhaps it could come out of Newsnight producers' salaries."

Deal, right after we make all the bankers pay for the economic collapse from their own pockets.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Or...

"Did you just seriously compare a news and entertainment company to the people tasked with defending our borders?"

I didn't realise our borders extended as far as Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Gee - did we get our Empire back while I was away on holiday? Also I don't quite see how training al Qaeda supporters in Syria is going to help us either. Maybe it would work if we were to give them stinger missiles too.

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No, you pay via the adverts that saturate the commercial stations.

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FAIL

"It shows us exactly the same "quality" entertainment as other commercial stations, with the difference that commercial stations don't charge us for it."

Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! The reality disconnect is revealed! You do pay for commercial stations, sometimes you even pay twice.

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Anonymous Coward

Amusing how people who work themselves up into a frenzy over the "daily Fail" never look in the mirror. Pot, meet kettle.

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P_0

Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! The reality disconnect is revealed! You do pay for commercial stations, sometimes you even pay twice.

Nope. CHannel 4 and ITV are free. I don't know who you are paying, but I'd double check they are who they say they are next time they knock on your door.

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Flame

Too balanced, that's the problem

These are the kind of comments I frequently see on social media:

"The BBC are a bunch of lefty pinko socialist commies. No balance at all SHUT DOWN THE BBC"

"The BBC aren't challenging the cuts at all, those horrible right wing sock puppets OCCUPY THE BBC"

"There's not enough women on this panel, misogynist scum! BOYCOTT THE BBC"

"The BBC is just a liberal lefty inclusivity box ticking exercise. PRIVATISE THE BBC"

....etc, etc. Seem some people aren't happy unless the channel they are watching is a constant 100% echo chamber for their own beliefs. This is why the world has news providers like Fox News and The Daily Mail: why challenge your beliefs when you can just pump your eyes and ears full of self validating claptrap?

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FAIL

Thanks for that thouht Rupert.

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The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

That's a very good analogy (except that vampires don't exist, but the BBC does).

It's impossible to have a rational discussion about the good and the bad aspects of the BBC, because the only thing that people focus on is the lack of advertisements. They say they value the "independence", or the variety or whatever else. But all it comes down to when the waffle is stripped away is not having 12 (or 18) minutes of unwanted programme breaks every hour.

What the BBC does, by being "free", is to suck the life-blood (i.e. revenue) from the real independent TV channels. How can a commercial broadcaster possibly compete with a corporation that gives its product away, for free - or in this case, advert free.

That's the reason all the commercial channels are so crap. The reason why they have to focus on the televisual trash, the lowest common denominator, the cheap and nasty and the crass. Because they can't afford the money to make good, popular, varied programmes - some of which might even push the boundaries. The BBC takes away over half the audience and therefore takes away the independents' ability to earn advertising revenue.

Call the BBC independent, or "value" or whatever. None of those attributes are important to its viewers. The only thing they really care about on BBC TV or radio is the lack of advertising. While they are allowed to keep that privileged position, the other broadcasters don't have any chance of making the money they need to become good.

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Coat

Re: Or...

The BBC should be merged with the Ministry of Defense. Income from foreign sales of Doctor Who DVD's and the like can then be used to fund more 'hands-on' foreign adventures.

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FAIL

"Nope. CHannel 4 and ITV are free."

Nope. They cost you, those adverts are not free; so you pay for those with increased product prices. Also, if you watch them, you pay an opportunity cost. Let's say you watch 2 hours of 2 a day. That's about 6-7 advert breaks. We'll say 6. Average time, 3 mins so that's 18 mins of adverts a day; or jut over two hours a week. How much do you value your free time? £10/hour? So you pay £20 per week to watch Channel 4 and ITV and you pay higher product prices. Nice. You can avoid the former but not the latter; and the situation is even worse with the likes of Sky as you pay again to get the adverts!

What's this "free" you are talking about?

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Headmaster

... an alternate point of view ...

I think the word you're grasping for is "alternative" (unless you're a yank, in which case you may be labouring (or laboring, even) under the misapprehension that "alternate" and "alternative" mean the same thing).

[That's "Yank" as in "one who lives somewhere between Mexico and Canada", not specifically a subset of the denizens of New England, by the way.]

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P_0

Nope. They cost you, those adverts are not free; so you pay for those with increased product prices. Also, if you watch them, you pay an opportunity cost. Let's say you watch 2 hours of 2 a day. That's about 6-7 advert breaks. We'll say 6. Average time, 3 mins so that's 18 mins of adverts a day; or jut over two hours a week. How much do you value your free time? £10/hour? So you pay £20 per week to watch Channel 4 and ITV and you pay higher product prices. Nice. You can avoid the former but not the latter; and the situation is even worse with the likes of Sky as you pay again to get the adverts!

Absurd mumbo-jumbo. Companies selling products have to advertise, regardless of where they do it. It's budgeted into their accounts. When I walk past an advertisement on a billboard I don't curse, "ooh, that's raised the price of bread by 2p."

You are comparing apples and oranges. The direct hit on my wallet that paying for a license fee costs vs this ethereal cost factor (that is already factored into the price of the product anyway, regardless of whether I watch Channel 4). Please tell me how to calculate this cost factor. My guess is you can't. because it is nothing but mumbo-jumbo.

Secondly, you are assuming I spend the adverts time staring at the screen. I could be making a cup of tea, talking to whoever else is in the room, making a phone call, feeding the dog, cleaning up the living room etc etc. Another phantasm cost you conjured into existence.

Now, thirdly, and most importantly- Assuming your first point is correct (it isn't), and everytime I watch commercial TV I should start feeling an ache in my wallet, then surely this is an argument to make the BBC commercial, since that means advertisers have more of an audience, and they can cut advertising costs accordingly. Hence products become cheaper. Yes, that argument is just as inane as yours.

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@ The BigYin

You do realise we live in a modern age? I tend to record my TV and watch it when I fell it is the right time thereby eliminating the ads.

If he is watching the "free to air" channels, why have you instantly decided he sits through a load of adverts to watch what he wants?

He may not have the ability to record but you have assumed for some reason and thus using your own made up facts to back up your argument. We all know ads mean not free, but you do not have to watch them. He could even be doing a little DIY in the ad breaks or anything else for that matter. Thus his time is not wasted no?

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My goodness

See those cute little short films that come on in between the long ones on Channel 4, ITV? They're called 'ad-vert-ise-ments'. When you buy something from one of the companies that pay for those, you're paying for those channels.

Dear me, 'free-to-air' is not the same as 'free'.

The BBC is imperfect, but it's being made worse by trying to compete on a near-commercial basis with the commercial channels. I'm convinced that until such time as we loose the BBC, we will never appreciate just how good it is, compared to ANY other broadcaster around the world.

This article's a bit ripe too; it seems that the Register is entirely capable of maintaining an oversimplified climate-sceptic viewpoint without the need for any high-profile lobbying.

In general, it just feels like - as a nation - we're lashing out at anything that smells vaguely of authority in an attempt to cure our general end-of-empire malaise. As an earlier poster has pointed out, one side or other of the political spectrum is always lambasting the beeb for being biased towards the other - which is a good indication of balance.

We should all just calm down and stop expecting everything that's wrong with the BBC to be fixed overnight - or even in 55 days...

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Re:Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

And in the countries where there is no BBC to pull down the quality of independent telly they just get to the bottom on their own.

The BBC may be a vampire but the commercial side never had any blood to suck so whats the problem?

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FAIL

"You are comparing apples and oranges."

I'm not actually. A cost is a cost, direct or indirect.

"The direct hit on my wallet that paying for a license fee costs vs this ethereal cost factor"

There's nothing ethereal about it. A business cost is always passed on to the consumer. And whether your wallet is skewered through the heart or bled to death by a thousand cuts, doesn't change the fact it gets drained.

"Please tell me how to calculate this cost factor."

Basic arithmetic. [cost of adverts] / [units manufactured] = [cost per unit]. If you want specifics, go look up a few numbers. Will the cost per unit be high? No. Fractions of pennies. But multiply that by the number of various units you buy every day, week, month, year. The point isn't that this cost if large or small, but that commercial stations are not free. There is a cost and it is borne by us whether we want to admit it or not.

"Secondly, you are assuming I spend the adverts time staring at the screen....Another phantasm cost you conjured into existence."

Which is why I stated you could avoid it. If you can't be bothered to read nor to comprehend what is writ; there's not much hope for you I'm afraid.

"I watch commercial TV I should start feeling an ache in my wallet"

You do - it's been explained to you twice now.

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Re: @ The BigYin

"You do realise we live in a modern age? I tend to record my TV and watch it when I fell it is the right time thereby eliminating the ads."

I do, which is why I said the "cost" of the adverts could be avoided, but not the increased cost of the products.

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Balls

Utter balls. If TV advertising didn't get people to buy stuff, the companies wouldn't waste their money on it (or maybe you're saying that the private sector is incompetent? You know, that sector that you want to run the BBC?). I'd rather the cost was up front (pay money for TV), than built into every advertised product that I buy (whether I knew they advertised on C4/ITV/Sky/whatever. Just because YOU can't see the cost or don't know how to measure it, it doesn't mean it's not there...

And how can commercial stations compete with the BBC? Very nicely in fact - the top rating shows on the BBC and ITV have very similar viewing figures.

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WTF?

Hmmm

I like the BBC. Some of it is shit, but for the most part it is pretty amazing. And unique. Having been around the world and seen what else on offer I would rather have it than not. The alternative is lots of lowest common denominator programming and lots more adverts.

US commercial television is for the most part utter shit, apart from HBO, which is pay per view. I think the BBC keeps the standard of the commercial channels from slipping into the shit.

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Quite sensible mumbo jumbo...

Companies don't HAVE to advertise. Most chose to do so because their product is much the same as that produced by other companies and they don't/can't want to rely on just the excellence/value etc or otherwise of their product to pursuade buyers to select it over other companies wares.

What companies pay for their advertising is known as a "cost" which is part and parcel of a competitive market. There are lots of other costs associated with market competition, both financial and ethical. Unfortunately experience tells us that a having market based competition does not always mean better value for consumers. That is one of the reasons why in most markets there are many laws and regulations to limit the actions of companies - basically they can't be trusted to do "the right thing" (rather like governments really) and left to their own devices will screw us poor consumers.

And just because a cost is ethereal doesn't mean it is not just as real as an "above the board" cost, only that it may be hidden amongst all those other costs like profit, materials, transport etc.

And as you yourself ackowledge, your third and final argument is even more inane than the OP's - "..make the BBC commercial, since that means advertisers have more of an audience, and they can cut advertising costs accordingly. Hence products become cheaper."

Yes, just like gas, water and electricity have all become cheaper because of competition - not.

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Re: Or...

...The McAlpine case is a classic case of "chickens coming home to roost." He should have sucked a hell of a lot more money from them. Perhaps it could come out of Newsnight producers' salaries....

He specifically pointed out that he was not going to - because ALL the money in the BBC comes from licence-payers pockets. I can't think of many left-wing politicians who would have done that...

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Megaphone

Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

"Real independent TV channels" - how independent might that be? They are all driven by some imperative. If small, purely to make a buck for their owner/investors often by making sure their output pleases advertisers . If rich, probably there is also an additional element of in some way supporting the political influence/agenda of their owners/shareholders.

Once the BBC could have been said to be in theory at least, free of a need to provide a financial return, and very independent of government interference.

Since Birt was parachuted in, successive governments have tinkered with the organisation, the way it is (mis-)managed, regulated, funded and it's output produced and edited.

We now have the end result - a broadcasting company which no longer has an identity of it's own, whose employees (those who are left anyhow) have to ask themselves daily if what they are thinking is "correct" - never mind common sense, to ask what the latest PC agenda they should be slavishly pushing is, and whose senior management seem to only be interested in making up theirs and their croneys huge salaries and pensions.

The Gilligan affair myth was the nail in the coffin for the old independent BBC. A DG was effectively sacked over a report that was in all it's essential elements an accurate reflection of what might generously be called very dodgy slight of hand - certainly Gilligan was far more accurate in his report than the "sexy" dossier he was sacked for reporting on.

Until the 90's the BBC was feared (and often secretly respected) by governments at home and abroad largely because it was PARTIAL. It took sides. It was campaigning. Yes, it was a bit too lefty at times, with the whole Rethian thing rather snobbish and patronising, it had a well meaning idealistic, educational if pseudo-socialist agenda, but it was not afraid to kick political masters of any persuasion in the pills. Over the years it has, with a few honourable exceptions, been reduced to a self serving money go-round for the bigwigs and luvvie independent production companies.

Science journalism at the BBC has taken the biggest hit, with any journalists with a decent science education / background being pushed out in favour of generalists who (with few exceptions) mostly have no idea if the press releases they read and regurgitate to us are based on decent science or not or even understand in any meaningful way what the pro's/cons are. Hence this misguided mess over "climategate".

The old style BBC would have at least one senior journalist / editor who thouroughly understands science methodologies and shinanigans, and could have provided a well informed and intelligent overall of what the overall science output really means, which is worth considering and which is not.

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Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

Have you seen Sky's revenue!

http://corporate.sky.com/about_sky/key_facts_and_figures

Almost 7 billion quid not enough to make quality programmes?

Of course it is but they still choose to chase sport and movies because that is where the profit lies.

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"Did the big nasty Auntie ask you to consider an alternate point of view?"

No, big nastie Auntie asks me to pay them £142 every year, with threat of imprisonment if I don't, if I want to watch Motorbike racing on Eurosport.

Why should I have to pay? Because you personally like it maybe, but want me and others to fund it for you?

Well how about making it illegal to buy the Guardian unless you buy a Daily Mail first? Does that sound a sensible policy? It is about as sensible as enforced publc funding for the BBC

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Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

> Have you seen Sky's revenue!

>Almost 7 billion quid not enough to make quality programmes?

That's a very good point - although Sky has 3 parts, of which satellite TV is only one - though it IS the largest. When you look just below that headline figure, you see that Sky's investment in programming was £2.3Bn. it's unclear what BSB's (the TV business) operating costs were, but that's less that the Beeb's licence fee income of £3.6Bn¹ AND that Sky made a profit from all 3 of its businesses of £1.2Bn

[1] Inferred from the statement in the BBC Annual Report

http://www.bbc.co.uk/annualreport/2012/exec/managingourfinances/financialperformance/incomeandexpenditure/

That BBC Worldwide returned "£216 million to the BBC, equivalent to 6% of the licence fee income"

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Anonymous Coward

The accounting must be complicated.

It would seem that it is already partly commercial. How they work out that this page is not funded by the license fee I do not know. Where did they get the capital to set it up?

www.bbc.com/future

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Re: Or...

the term is "killing for the state".........

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P_0

There's nothing ethereal about it. A business cost is always passed on to the consumer. And whether your wallet is skewered through the heart or bled to death by a thousand cuts, doesn't change the fact it gets drained.

OK. You seem to have a misunderstanding of how capitalism and commerce work. You see, money can be exchanged for god and services. When A pays B and then B pays C, if you then say this is the same as A paying C, it is true in the most broad, meaningless sense. You seem to not understand that companies have advertising departments, i.e. advertising is baked into the price anyway. You inane argument has as much meaning as when I see a haulage truck, I say to myself, "I'm paying that drivers salary." That is true, if I buy whatever he is hauling around from factory to shop, but is meaningless. You see money sloshes about the economy and we all pay each other for goods and services. And then there is tax. BBC license fee is a tax.

By your reckoning, if TV advertisements were suddenly banned, products would drop in price. Right? No. Companies would then have to find more inefficient ways of advertising.

Basic arithmetic. [cost of adverts] / [units manufactured] = [cost per unit]. If you want specifics, go look up a few numbers. Will the cost per unit be high? No. Fractions of pennies. But multiply that by the number of various units you buy every day, week, month, year. The point isn't that this cost if large or small, but that commercial stations are not free. There is a cost and it is borne by us whether we want to admit it or not.

cost of haulage / units manufactured = cost per unit. Oh now I'm paying for haulage, from factory to shop, too.

cost of labour/ units... oh now I'm paying the damn worker's labour cost.

cost of research/... oh and now research.

cost of water cooler in company office/.. I guess I have to add this to the cost too.

It seems I'm paying for everything here! Which means the true (fair?) price of all products is 0 pounds.

If you haven't noticed what is happening here, I am repeating your observation with all kinds of different costs that are need for a company to bring a product to market. I didn't realize I was paying the man who puts the water in the water cooler's salary, just by buying a DVD.

What you would be wise to observe here is how economies work. People pay each other for good and services. Saying I am paying to watch adverts is meaningless, unless you want to argue that the price of all those products that are advertised should be zero. Otherwise we have to take into account all the other people I'm supposedly paying when I buy a product.

You do - it's been explained to you twice now.

What you have explained is that you don't understand how the world works. You think advertising is some afterthought companies tag on the end after developing a product. Advertising is an integral part of how companies make money. It is a necessity. I'm not paying any extra to watch adverts, because if there were no TV adverts then companies would have to advertise in other ways. If you still want to argue that I'm paying for this, then explain if I am also paying extra costs for my product due to the logistics companies, the accountants and auditing firms, the legal firms, the caretaker who empties the bins at the end of the day. I'm paying for all of this, when in fact I seemingly shouldn't be paying anything for anything.

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P_0

Re: Quite sensible mumbo jumbo...

Companies don't HAVE to advertise.

Companies don't have to do anything. Do you think they advertise for the fun of it, or because it is a NECESSITY? Saying advertising is an extra cost tagged onto the price is inane. Think about it. If that were true, then any company that didn't spend money advertising would undercut their opponents. Obviously this isn't happening, so we can agree advertising is an integral part of selling a product, how we all make our money, in some form or another. That's why saying I'm paying extra for the TV adverts is particularly stupid. I'm also paying extra for the haulage, research, the store clerk's pay, the cost of insuring the factory where the product was made, everything. Which is why your argument boils down to meaningless nothingness.

Most chose to do so because their product is much the same as that produced by other companies and they don't/can't want to rely on just the excellence/value etc or otherwise of their product to pursuade buyers to select it over other companies wares.

I don't know what planet you live on where companies can succeed on excellence without advertising. Tell me one major company without any form of advertising division?

What companies pay for their advertising is known as a "cost" which is part and parcel of a competitive market.

Just like haulage, research, labour costs, insurance, CEO pay, legal fees etc etc. Nobody sees a haulage truck and thinks that taking the product to market is some extra optional cost passed on to the consumer. It is an integral part of selling the product.

And just because a cost is ethereal doesn't mean it is not just as real as an "above the board" cost, only that it may be hidden amongst all those other costs like profit, materials, transport etc.

Exactly. But they are all integral part of commerce. You can't single advertising out and say we're paying to watch the adverts without also saying we're paying for all these other costs. And do you know what the price would be without all these other costs? Zero. Which is why your argument is so silly.

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Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

MOst of the commercial channels would dread the 'privatisation' of the BBC. Even Elizabeth Murdoch spoke against it at Edinburgh not so long ago. There is hardly enough advertising revenue to fund all the current commercial channels - imagine what would happen if you threw the BBC into that market too. THEN it would truly become the vampire sucking the lifeblood out of the rest of commercial TV. As it is it forces the main channels to keep a modicum of programme quality rather than the total dross that inhabits much American TV. (And before anyone says HBO remember the relative populations of America and Britain and work out how that would relate to the subscription base for a "British HBO")

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Absurd mumbo-jumbo. Companies selling products have to advertise, regardless of where they do it. It's budgeted into their accounts. When I walk past an advertisement on a billboard I don't curse, "ooh, that's raised the price of bread by 2p."............

Years ago I worked as a student in a bakery making those exceedingly good cakes. They were also making for several supermarket chains - exactly the same recipes and products. The only difference was the boxes and the price on the boxes - up to about (back in the early 70's) 3p per box!! That's what the advertising costs you!! The last time I looked at the figures for the total advertising spend on broadcast media (Ofcom website) and the number of households in the UK (I think it was the Dept of the Environment I got the figure from) the simple division worked out that the average household pays something over £200 per year (cf the licence fee figure!!) to fund the commercial channels. And many of those channels, of course, are behind subscription walls so - even though you're paying - you don't get anything in return, so you're paying for the viewing habits of others (just as so many resent having to do for the BBC!).

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Apart from being a self sufficient hermit there is no way to avoid paying for the commercial channels through the advertising premium we all pay on all our goods and services. The figure is approximately £200 p.a.. If you don't watch commercial channels or can't pay the subscriptions you are still paying for the channels - exactly the same situation as you are complaining about with the BBC - except, of course, the BBC is "free to air" which so many commercial channels are not!!

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Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

"It's impossible to have a rational discussion about the good and the bad aspects of the BBC, because the only thing that people focus on is the lack of advertisements."

Ok, I'll try.

"What the BBC does, by being "free", is to suck the life-blood (i.e. revenue) from the real independent TV channels. How can a commercial broadcaster possibly compete with a corporation that gives its product away, for free - or in this case, advert free."

A significant proportion of the BBC's output is commissioned from independent production companies. If anything, the BBC is helping to maintain a vibrant ecosystem of content creators. To answer your question about how commercial broadcasters can possibly compete, well Sky seem to turn a profit even though they charge for the privilidge of showing you advert for 25% of the time. How much of Sky's commissioning budget supports local cntent creation, rather than lining the pockets of prima-donna footballers, for example? ITV on the other hand paid a fortune for the right to show one Champions League game a week, while Sky paid less than twice as much to show all the other matches. Perhaps ITV's problem is poor negotiation and chasing the wrong audience?

"That's the reason all the commercial channels are so crap. The reason why they have to focus on the televisual trash, the lowest common denominator, the cheap and nasty and the crass. Because they can't afford the money to make good, popular, varied programmes - some of which might even push the boundaries. The BBC takes away over half the audience and therefore takes away the independents' ability to earn advertising revenue."

I remember the day Channel 4 was launched. The BBC was still funded by a licence fee, yet ITV was still able top the ratings tables and produce quality programming. So what changed? Now we have far more channels vying for a share of viewers and all competing for a fixed amount of advertising revenue. Instead of holding the monopoly on UK TV advertising, ITV has to compete with other commercial channels for a revenue stream that dwindles year on year as the internet and on-demand viewing makes TV advertising redundant. That's the reason why free-to-air commercial TV channels are crap. Do you honestly think that privatising the BBC will magically reduce their woes? If the BBC didn't command such significant viewing figures, I daresay you would be questioning what they were spending the licence fee on. Either way, the BBC can't win.

"Call the BBC independent, or "value" or whatever. None of those attributes are important to its viewers. The only thing they really care about on BBC TV or radio is the lack of advertising. While they are allowed to keep that privileged position, the other broadcasters don't have any chance of making the money they need to become good."

I watch the BBC when they show content that appeals to me. I watch commercial TV channels when they do the same. I don't pick a TV channel and stick with it regardless on the basis that I won't see any adverts. What I really care about is content and I challenge you to provide evidence for the statement "The only thing they really care about on BBC TV or radio is the lack of advertising." I agree that the BBC is in a privileged position, but it comes with responsibilities. While I occasionally have to scream obscenities at Prof. Brian Cox, the BBC continue to show niche content that their commercial terrestrial rivals have long since abandoned, but what good has chasing the Jeremy Kyle demographic done them?

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Re: Or...

Sad thing about this is that privatising the MOD is exactly what the last 3 governments have been doing.

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