back to article The BBC wants to slap a TAX on EVERYONE in BLIGHTY

The BBC could resurrect Margaret Thatcher's hated Poll Tax as well as turning itself into a technology giant to fend off "colonising" American media outfits, BBC director general Tony Hall has said. In his speech, delivered at London's Broadcasting House to mark his first day as DG, Hall said the BBC has not only embraced the …

  1. Moeluk

    I for one laughed my arse off at this...I love the BBC, and believe it's critical to allow even remotely unbiased media and excellent tv shows to flourish.

    My friends do not share this opinion "why do we pay for the bbc, the license fee should be abolished" so when this was announced I was overjoyed! Beware of what you wish for ladies and gents!

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @ Moeluk

      And you consider these people friends? I feel sorry for them. You enjoy something that they dont have a use for (presumably) and so they dont want to be forced to pay for something they do not receive, but you would be happy for them to be forced to pay so you can enjoy your brain dead content? Would you be overjoyed to be forced to pay for their choice of entertainment although you have no interest in it, have no use for it and wouldnt part with a penny for it?

      Your friends could do with a better friend

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ Moeluk

        The friends benefit from the balance the BBC bring to the entire market. Without BBC, we would have dross on every channel. Rather than *almost* every channel as now.

        1. Max Normal

          Re: @ Moeluk

          Why should everybody be forced to pay for the BBC's brand of dross, just because *you* like it?

          Kudos for their brass neck, but the Beeb are being cheeky buggers here - they're always banging on about how loved they are, but are frightened to test their assertion by going subscription.

          It's a scandal that the BBC are the biggest prosecutors of poor people in this country - single mums, etc ending up with a criminal record because they don't have a TV license.

          1. Riku

            Re: @ Moeluk

            The BBC "are the biggest prosecutors"?, the last time I checked (about a minute ago), the vast majority of TV Licensing enforcement (a separate company) is done by Capita.

            1. Senshi

              Re: @ Moeluk

              Semantics will get you nowhere.

            2. Steve Foster

              @Riku

              True, but Capita are just agents acting under instruction from the BBC. So ultimately, it is the BBC calling the shots, and prosecuting those who watch TV without a TV licence.

              I think that last time I looked at the figures in the BBC accounts, they were spending somewhere in the order of £140m on licence fee collection (ie that's the amount paid to Capita for carrying out those prosecutions).

              Which means that any other method of funding the BBC that doesn't involve criminalising those who are almost unable to avoid it would automatically benefit the BBC to the tune of £140m pa.

          2. Graham Triggs

            Re: @ Moeluk

            "Why should everybody be forced to pay for the BBC's brand of dross, just because *you* like it?"

            Why should everybody that wants any kind of TV at all be forced to pay 6 times the current amount of the licence fee, just because you don't like the BBC?

            Because if the licence fee goes - without a secured, commercial and political interest free revenue stream to replace it - then that is exactly what we will end up with. You'll either pay £60 / £70 a month to Sky / Virgin / BT, or have nothing.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @ Moeluk

              Not quite true - you can watch youtube.

        2. GrumpyMiddleAgedGuy

          Re: @ Moeluk

          Have you watched the BBC lately? It is popular trash. E.g. EastEnders, Strictly come Dancing. Also it is deeply left-wing and biased; a claim its own management has agreed with. And it is unbelievable that 1000s of mostly poor are jailed for not paying for their licence. (Are we living in Victorian times?)

          The sooner it gets privatised the better. A dinosaur.

          1. jason 7

            Things change.

            99% of my viewing is now Prime or Netflix. The £150 for the License fee is just not value for money any more, especially as mentioned if you don't like cookery/Z list celebrities dancing or Gregg Wallace.

            Sorry BBC but you aren't the only game in town now. It's not the 1990's and many of us have moved on.

            We really don't need you anywhere near as much as you think.

            As for the Poll Tax... I actually didn't mind it. When you look at it now and with modern family demographics of two to three generations living at home now... it makes more sense than Council tax.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Things change.

              "As for the Poll Tax... I actually didn't mind it. When you look at it now and with modern family demographics of two to three generations living at home now... it makes more sense than Council tax."

              Indeed. Reduce the cost per head, up the number of heads. Thing is you still need some kind of property-levy to deal with the rich who own many properties and whose larger properties may consume more services. Although I guess most of those are billed by utilities companies.

              1. Roger Houghton

                Re: Things change.

                Not that anyone's proposing a poll tax. The idea is to have a property tax (as recently adopted in Germany), i.e. exactly the same as at present but universal rather than tied to ownership of a TV. Result will be a lower licence because it'll be paid by 100% of households.

                1. cortland

                  Re: Things change.

                  I don't have to worry about your taxes, but I wonder about a property tax not actually levied on property' I really do.

                  And I really miss the BBC on shortwave.

            2. P. Lee Silver badge

              Re: Things change.

              The poll tax was actually quite a good tax. Easy to understand, easy to pay, not easy to avoid, cheap to collect. It just came at a time when the ruling party had been in power for so long that they had managed to annoy a lot of people.

              All those students who hated Thatcher. Look at the current grant & tuition system and weep.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ Moeluk

            "It is popular trash. E.g. EastEnders, Strictly come Dancing."

            Two long-running shows.

            "left-wing and biased"

            So what? We should only permit right-wing TV? As it happens, I think the BBC is centrist.

            "And it is unbelievable that 1000s of mostly poor are jailed for not paying for their licence."

            You forget that the license fee isn't mandatory.

            "The sooner it gets privatised the better."

            Spoken like a true Maggie Acolyte. Yes. Let's privatise it and watch it get screwed up just like the railways. And now the NHS. You lot will not be happy until our national infrastructure is in ruins and the assets in the control of your friendly tax-evading elite.

            So much for your "Will no one think of the poor!?" crocodile tears.

            1. Senshi

              Re: @ Moeluk

              Spoken like a true anonymous coward.

          3. Thought About IT

            Left-wing and biased?

            @ GrumpyMiddleAgedGuy: ("it is deeply left-wing and biased")

            The conservative press endlessly recycles the myth that the BBC has a left-wing bias, when one academic study after another has demonstrated that the opposite is the case. What they mean is that it's not as extremely right wing as they are, and they are determined to put that right by dragooning the government into privatising it.

            I'm happy to pay my license fee just so I don't have to pay to watch 5 minutes of advertisements every 10 minutes, like you have to on subscription channels.

            1. Def Silver badge

              Re: Left-wing and biased?

              I'm happy to pay my license fee just so I don't have to pay to watch 5 minutes of advertisements every 10 minutes, like you have to on subscription channels.

              So maybe the way forward is to ban charging subscribers if you show adverts.

          4. Riku

            Re: @ Moeluk

            Have you watched Fox News lately? Or any TV anywhere else in the world?

            We had TV licenses in NZ when I was a kid and groups like TVNZ's natural History Unit were winning Emmy's. Then we got rid of licensing in favour of a "free" market (dominated by North American broadcasting powerhouses that no local company could ever afford to outspend) and we all went "Hooray, no more evil license fee!" Now people pay subscriptions to foreign companies to watch 24-hour garbage. Of course pay-TV was originally pitched as being "ad-free" - that lasted so well didn't it?

            Whenever I visit NZ, I can no longer bear to watch TV. Britain, please learn from our mistake and please don't repeat it! Yes the Beeb has some issues, but, like a redneck's rifle - FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!

            Oh, and I don't think what was our Natural History unit ever won an Emmy-class award ever again.

            Sigh...

          5. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: @ Moeluk

            >The sooner it gets privatised the better. A dinosaur.

            Why would you privatise it? It'll just be another ITV/C4/C5. We already have at least three of those.

            The BBC's "left-wing" problem is not so much political as philosophical. With both the two major parties staffed by lawyers and shifting to the right, we probably need an organisation which can publicly ask awkward questions and which is not beholden to large commercial interests.

            The whole point of the BBC is to do a wide variety of shows which couldn't be made commercially. It is unlikely to win the ratings game and that's fine.

            Where are the funny shows of yore, like The Good Life? I don't want to "start a conversation" or "start a discussion" from TV shows. It would be nice to have some TV I could occasionally watch with my 12-year-old daughter without awkward smuttiness. Something intellectually teen / adult oriented without being soap-trash, depressing news or sexually-oriented.

            It also fails to makes stuff itself, so it never gets the full rights to anything which means its tied up in DRM knots. That's bad. I'd rather have a lower quantity of output and more refinement and freedom of control.

          6. Roger Houghton

            Re: @ Moeluk

            If you watch the trash (and that's a wholly subjective POV) that's your choice. I only watch (and listen to) quality stuff on the Beeb.

          7. strum Silver badge

            Re: @ Moeluk

            >Have you watched the BBC lately?

            Yes. Tell me who else could/would have produced anything as good as Wolf Hall?

      2. Moeluk

        Re: @ Moeluk

        Please, they all have sky..and they all watch match of the day, blue planet, listen to 5 live and God knows what else..it's not that they don't use it..its that they don't understand what an absolute hell hole this country would be like without it...

        I don't want to live in a society run by American style media.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: @ Moeluk

          My other half says she's well loved, but I'm not sure I'd test that out by putting her out for subscription.

          You're confusing quality with popularity.

          I'm on someone's Netflix account (repayment for fixing their IT), and I've got cable.

          I went through the whole of Netflix the other night. Nothing, absolutely nothing on there that I wanted to watch or hadn't already seen. I ended up watching The Avengers (Steed & Mrs Peel, not Iron Man and Hulk) and Question Time. OK, The Avengers was an ITV programme, but the only stuff I actually watch is University Challenge, The News (BBC news), Question Time, Room 101, Sewing Bee, Screen Wipe, Panorama, Horizon, Mastermind, Doctor Who, reruns of ST:TOS/ST:TNG and the odd NCIS or Judge Judy if there's nothing else on. I watch the old ITV serials as well if they're on, Professionals, Sweeney etc.

          Are you starting to get the idea? I watch barely any ITV. Not on principal, it's just because they never produce anything I'd actually watch. It's true that the BBC's quality of output has gone downhill over the years, as they produce more and more dross in a bid to compete in the ratings game, which seems to be the only metric that counts and that people want to count. ITV's quality has dropped off over the years too, but they've also started making more period drama and stuff. Usually tedious but on a par with the BBC in terms of production values. Hopefully I'll be dead and therefore no longer able to watch TV before the "no enforced public funding for the BBC" lobby get their way.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ Moeluk

        like say the national Theatre / Opera?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well put

      The BBC is worth it for the News alone. In the West we have a media dominated by large corporations all trying to drive their own agendas. Look at how the Telegraph reported (or rather didn't!) the whole HSBC debacle. You need a broadcaster who is impartial and not controlled by commercial organizations which the BBC is. What the media reports is very important as it gives us our whole world-view. Why do you think in wars etc, control of the media is a major strategy. The BBC gives us an impartial and well-informed view of the world and also forces the other broadcasters and news reporters to maintain a certain standard.

      The license fee also injects a huge amount of money into the broadcast industry which the the other broadcasters and broadcast manufacturers benefit from. If it went away you would only end up paying more for products (due to higher adverstising costs) and subscriptions.

      And as for the other "I don't use it so I shouldn't pay for it" argument, as mentioned above, that isn't true but we pay for lots of services we don't use. I am hardly every ill, have BUPA and private dental but still pay my NI contributions. Should I complain? Oh, and I earn a good salary, mostly in the 40% bracket, so should I refuse to pay part of my income tax as I end up paying a substantial amount every month to those who do not even work! What about my council tax - I never use buses or libraries, should I be refusing that too?

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    No Pasaran

    They are getting enough as it is. No pasaran.

  3. Howverydare

    "universal levy could be put on every household"

    Bite me, BBC. I watch one program on BBC and if I had to pay for it, I'd just watch it later on another channel.

    The sooner we can be rid of the BBC's belief that we should fund them regardless of whether we want them or not, the better.

    1. John Sanders
      Mushroom

      Re: "universal levy could be put on every household"

      They are the epitome of cultural Marxism, true defenders of the faith.

      Of course they believe they have the right for us to fund them.

      Silly you, and silly me.

      Fire is not enough...

    2. Roger Houghton

      Re: "universal levy could be put on every household"

      Programme, FFS.

  4. Rabbers

    If you emmigrate

    Do you get to watch the Beeb for free? Just wondering like.

    Joking aside, it's clear that creating british programmes is a cultural thing, so the only thing that galls me is that they call it a TV license.

    In this day and age, if you want people to pay for your content, encrypt it, but don't enforce the notion that it's a license for using a TV or Radio - that is so very much outdated.

    So it's a tax to support britush culture then, not a license to use a TV or Radio device that is capable of being used for so many different things other than consuming the output from the Beeb.

    1. tirk

      Re: If you emmigrate

      Do you get to watch the Beeb for free?

      Some of it. You also get added adverts on some services, and some content geographically blocked. The ability to buy a TV licence for overseas use (or somehow identify yourself as holding a licence, eg when on holiday) is a not infrequent request.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: If you emmigrate

      To England? My no, I found a new home just across the channel in the land of clogs, yellow cheese and windmills. I am watching the BBC at this moment. Waiting for Pointless to come on, watching Put your money where your mouth is.

      I can even watch it on my computer via a WebTV offering. My ISP offers a triple play, voice being the third option, which I use.

      I do find the whole concept of a TV license....different, are you hunting them or keeping them as pets??

    3. Roger Houghton

      Re: If you emmigrate

      Licence, FFS.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: If you emmigrate

        license works in my spell check... licence does not. We're not from the same part of the world. No need to go all grammar nazi.

  5. NotWorkAdmin

    I like the BEEB

    National treasure. Would like to keep it. Don't mind paying for it either.

    I do not think people who don't want it should have to pay for it though. That's mad.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I like the BEEB

      Until it's all streaming and the non-Beebers can be locked out; they'll just have to suck it up and keep benefiting from the market balance the Beeb provides.

    2. Roger Houghton

      Re: I like the BEEB

      Yes, where will it end? They'll be making the healthy pay for the NHS next.

  6. Simon Harris Silver badge

    Like in the old days?

    If the BBC's going to introduce a poll tax, I'm moving back to Wandsworth.

  7. William Donelson
    Thumb Up

    Before John Birt...

    ... the BBC were seen around the world as the Crown Jewels of British culture. Admired and respected everywhere. Authoritative, independent, literate, creative.

    But Birt's conservative-agenda dismantling of the BBC in the late 1980s was a travesty, from which the BBC never recovered.

    I agree that a strong, vibrant, independent BBC is great for Britain. I love this country (been here since 1985) and greatly admire so much of it's culture and personality.

    To set up a separate tax/fee collection system, beyond what we have now, or to have the central government pay fees from general taxation to the BBC is not the answer. But I do believe that all adults in the UK must pay something, on a per person basis.

    This might be by a screen-tax upon purchase, or a yearly fee (possibly with monthly instalments), or managed by local councils.

    The BBC has the potential to be an even larger part of the rich culture that makes Britian, British, and I would love to see that expanded and strengthened.

  8. Locky Silver badge
    Pint

    Charge the ex-pats

    From all the ex-pats I know, one of the few things they miss is (legal) access to BBC content. So create a non-UK iPlayer, charge for a login per day / year / program. Boom, instant revenue, no infrastructure change required.

    Thanks, I'll take my consultancy fee now

    1. Andy Nugent

      Re: Charge the ex-pats

      BBC Worldwide is already the commercial arm of the BBC, for selling & merchandising shows abroad (Sherlock / Dr Who on US TV for example).

      I think there'd be issues with what you're proposing, as you'd be conflicting with those licenses (selling a show to channel ABC in the USA, and also charging people in the USA to view it via iPlayer).

    2. Salts

      Re: Charge the ex-pats

      Ex-pat here, where do I pay?

      If you have ever watched BBC America you would be happy to pay for the real BBC, BBC America is an advertising channel that sometimes shows content. It is often true that you don't appreciate what you have, until you loose it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Charge the ex-pats

      I'm in Hong Kong. I already pay excessively for BBC World News, BBC Knowledge (a misnomer), and CeeBees. Only CeeBees is watched by the kid. Everything is repeated about 4 or 8 times. Every few minutes you get l-o-n-g adverts for itself, sometimes the same advert back to back.

      If it wasn't for the kid, I'd cancel the subscription.

      1. codejunky Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Charge the ex-pats

        @AC

        "Every few minutes you get l-o-n-g adverts for itself, sometimes the same advert back to back."

        If you read the comments in support of the BBC you would never believe that. Apparently the BBC has no adverts.

  9. AceRimmer
    Headmaster

    Poll Tax?

    "universal levy could be put on every household in the country"

    i.e. NOT a poll tax

    1. Les Matthew

      Re: Poll Tax?

      Indeed, makes you laugh when the reg recently advertised for a quality journalist.

      Maybe they should have asked for a sensationalist red top journalist instead.

      1. Thought About IT

        Re: Poll Tax?

        The Reg has the same agenda as every other right wing rag in the country: if it's publicly owned, sell it off to their mates, especially if it's not denying anthropogenic climate change.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Poll Tax?

          If you look at the full speech...

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/speeches/2015/tony-hall-bbc-internet-era

          That's some selective quoting in El Reg's story.

          As far as the licence fee is concerned, he's saying it should cover live and catch up TV and as it would practically cover everyone in the country it should be merged with council tax (not a poll tax) like France did.

          1. Pat Att

            Re: Poll Tax?

            "That's some selective quoting in El Reg's story."

            Yes, I think Kat Hall may actually be a nom-de-plume for Andrew Orlowski.

      2. 's water music Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Poll Tax?

        Indeed, makes you laugh when the reg recently advertised for a quality journalist.

        Maybe they should have asked for a sensationalist red top journalist instead.

        Umm, isn't the point of a job ad to get in the skills that you don't already have in spades?

    2. Roger Houghton

      Re: Poll Tax?

      Quite. In fact it'd be charged in exactly the same way as the existing licence fee except applied to more households.

  10. codejunky Silver badge

    So

    "As great British content becomes harder to fund,” he said, “the licence fee will become even more important. As American media giants colonise the world, supporting a thriving British culture will be essential."

    Since when did TV become an essential? When did a singular channel become essential? When did a single corporate entity become essential? So why would a universal tax for the privilege of paying for what some of us have no interest in what-so-ever be a good thing? Maybe the BBC should re-invent itself into something people are willing to pay for. Then it doesnt have to be forced on us all.

    1. Flatpackhamster

      Re: So

      When did it become essential? Don't you know that 200,000 media studies graduates DEPEND on the BBC to keep them out of a job at Tesco's?

    2. Thought About IT

      Re: So

      So, on that basis, why should those without children pay for schools, or any of us pay for Trident's replacement?

      1. Flatpackhamster

        Re: So

        Your analogy might work if state funded television services were an essential service as defence or education are. Other television providers are available to all. Other defence and education services are not.

        1. Riku

          Re: So

          Arguably an independantly-informed public are essential to a functioning democracy and the BBC's educational output is phenomenally good by international standards.

          You argument might work if you've ever watched TV in the USA for five minutes.

          1. Flatpackhamster

            Re: So

            This isn't about the quality of the product, it's about whether or not television provision by the taxpayer is an ESSENTIAL in the way that state schooling and defence are. It quite clearly isn't.

            Since the telly tax is the same price for everyone, it clearly hits the poorest hardest and the BBC's highbrow stuff is entirely consumed by the middle and upper middle classes. So if you're comfortable saying 'I like taking money off poor people to keep Tristan Bronwell-Chlostyon and his mates in macbooks and to ensure I can watch Borgen on a Saturday night' then good on you.

            1. Teiwaz Silver badge

              Re: So

              From what I've seen of the BBC, it caters for the low-brow with it's soaps and light entertainment and it caters to the high-brow with its BBC2 or BBC4 stuff.

              My experience is that both are lost on me entirely, being somewhere in the middle.

              I just don't watch TV anymore, when I want Videos I have my DVD collection ripped to a couple of drives and already have much of my favourites and anything new comes out worth watching I buy (usually a boxset).

              I'd be willing to pay a sub for the news (as long as it could be delivered in an rss without any sports (which isn't news, just another form of soap). As that's all I use the BBC for these days.

              So, yeah, put me down for the 'minimum' subscription.

          2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

            Re: So

            How is the BBC providing people with *independent* information? As a state broadcaster, their programs espouse the views of the British establishment and the BBC has been used plenty of times to disseminate unbalanced and misleading information for propaganda purposes - and even outright lies. There is no such thing as a completely unbiased broadcaster, all will reflect the views and values of the culture that produced them. To get a *balanced* view you need to look at a range of broadcasters from around the World, most of which have an English language channel.

        2. WylieCoyoteUK
          Mushroom

          Re: So

          Other defence and education services are not.

          There are private schools. Can't afford them? tough.

          Maybe we could franchise defence to another country, Putin would be keen, I'm sure.

        3. Gordon 11

          Re: So

          Other defence and education services are not.
          So you've never heard of Eton, Harrow, Stowe, .....

  11. cosmo the enlightened

    Public Broadcast Service

    I for one am happy for a TV license on a reasonable set of PBS channels and radio stations.

    Where I think this all falls to madness is in the rampant over-reach of the BBC into a huge set of costly additional services and technologies that can easily be supplied by private sector companies.

    The statement around the concept of a "My BBC" and viewer analytics blew my mind. What part of PBS are you struggling with Beeb?

    ... FFS!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Public Broadcast Service

      "Where I think this all falls to madness is in the rampant over-reach of the BBC into a huge set of costly additional services and technologies that can easily be supplied by private sector companies."

      You mean like catch-up services? Because the only one that works properly is BBC's iPlayer!

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Public Broadcast Service

        "You mean like catch-up services? Because the only one that works properly is BBC's iPlayer!"

        Well, sort of. Heavy dependency on Adobe and its works is a bit of a bummer.

    2. FartingHippo
      Thumb Up

      Re: Public Broadcast Service

      This. A hundred times this. Soap operas, game shows and reality shows should not be funded by a mandatory licence.

      The BBC is now a hugely inefficiant, tentacled monstrosity which massively distorts the market. There's a place for the BBC delivering genuine, quality, non-commercial services. Most people would be happy with that, I think, especially as the licence fee would plummet.

      EDIT for the AC: Farm it out to the private sector and bung a couple of ads at the start.

  12. Fortycoats

    They're just copying the Germans

    Unde the old "GEZ" system you paid about €18 per month if you had a TV, around €6 if you had only a radio. Since 2013 it has been changed to a household charge, and every household has to pay full whack, regardless of TV ownership. ('cause you can watch telly on these new-fangled computer things over the Interwebs, y'know)

    But unlike auntie, they have loads of ads on public service TV. The main early-evening news on ZDF is basically sponsored by big pharma. Hope the beeb don't go down that route.

  13. Tsung

    I'm confused by the comparison to Apple?

    Comparing the BBC to Apple is like comparing Apples to Oranges!

    Is he saying that the BBC should become a private company; raise money by encrypting the output and then charging accordingly? or does Apple charge us a tax every year regardless?

    I still believe the BBC had the perfect opportunity to change when we all went digital; but decided not to. Maybe they didn't want to get off the licence fee gravy train they were on at the time.

    If the BBC is that good and important it should be able to stand on it's own two feet; I say abolish the licence fee, encrypt the channels and offer a pay for service. People can choose to pay for access to your content. No need to send nasty letters out threatening court action, or sending inspectors to people's properties. So there is a saving right there!

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: I'm confused by the comparison to Apple?

      But the point has been made so often: people will pay for what they want, not necessarily what they need.

      There is a fundamental difference between the BBC and *every* other broadcaster in the world: it has a mandate to provide education, entertainment, and information to viewers, while all the others are in the business of providing eyeballs to advertisers. Irrespective of your views on advertising-funded programmes (and if you've seen any of my posts you'll know exactly how much I like it), the programmes that can be made - and are required to be made - are not the same as the other broadcasters.

      And the bad news is that because the BBC is not as other broadcasters, it can only be funded as a bulk; the programmes I might like to watch or listen to are unlikely to be those which could be funded as a stand-alone package without cross-funding.

  14. Irongut

    "Giving you the health news that you need, based on data you choose to share with us."

    So he wants the BBC to become another Google / Facebook / NSA / GCHQ / Tesco. No fucking way.

    I didn't pay the poll tax then and I won't pay a compulsory BBC tax, especially if it pays for big brother invasion of privacy crap.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      He's talking about data because it's been phenomenally successful for Channel 4. Up until now the broadcasters have had noidea, beyond a few surveys, who watches what. If they can find who watches what then it helps build pprogrammes people want, even real-time schedule updates for trending topics - and audience figures are what they're chasing. Of course it's also a nice profile to sell to advertisers, depends how much you trust the BBC.

  15. g7rpo

    It always amuses me when people complain about the price of the license, but pay around a hundred quid a month for sky etc.

    I dont have a problem with the license personally but dont agree with the levy on all households.

    I think that the only thing that needs to change is catch up TV being free to watch a matter of minutes after its finished being transmitted, the content is the same but the time is different, there should be a charge for that

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @ g7rpo

      "It always amuses me when people complain about the price of the license, but pay around a hundred quid a month for sky etc."

      Probably has something to do with paying for what you want but being forced to pay for something you dont. Like buying a newspaper but having to buy a low quality paper you wouldnt clean off the sole of your shoe with.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: @ g7rpo

        All the people I know who pay for Sky do it (or did it) for the odd game of football or rugby. There are some who watch some of the other output on Sky but its generally for the sports amongst the people I know - and they are being forced to pay to watch it as its pretty much a monopoly.

    2. jason 7

      I don't have Sky, never will but I can get Amazon Prime and Netflix with far more quality content on there for the same monthly cost of the License Fee.

      It's just entertainment at the end of the day and I don't want to pay for what I don't use or need.

    3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      "It always amuses me when people complain about the price of the license, but pay around a hundred quid a month for sky etc."

      Why? Are you similarly amused when people complain about the high price of a 50p tin of beans at at Tesco and then spend £100 on groceries at Sainsbury?

      If people are paying £100 per month for Sky, they will be able to choose from literally hundreds of TV and radio channels, not to mention on demand Internet content.

  16. Meerkatjie

    If they split out the British culture from the tv/radio station then I would get behind it. In New Zealand we have a government body (NZ On Air) that funds various NZ culture related things. If your show is appropriate then you can ask for funding. The body gets a bit of money allocated to them each year and once that's used up then no-one gets any more funding. The shows can then get sold overseas or to multiple channels depending on what the producers want to do.

  17. BongoJoe

    A few thoughts on this

    I am rather much against this for a number of reasons.

    Firstly Choice. I don't feel that I ought to be forced to pay the rather large salaries of some of these presenters. Do I wish to pay towards the upkeep of the likes of Brand who generally leaves a bad taste in my mouth. He is, to me, the BBC's equivalent of John McCirrick and I have no intention of supporting their lifestyle as such.

    I do buy the BBC's box sets when one comes out that interests me. This is my choice and some years I may spend more than £147 and some years I may spend less. This is my choice and this is as it should be.

    Secondly, the BBC. I am not pleased with the way that they covered up the Savile affair and I can image a lot of religiously minded individuals would be less than keen on supporting such an organisation as the BBC.

    Thirdly, programme quality. On the whole, I think that what the BBC offers is shit, Yes, there are a few good dramas that they make. But those I may choose to watch on Netflix (which means I will have paid my share for indirectly) or I may buy the box set or, even, I may choose not to bother with it at all. What was once the preserve of the BBC is now being overtaken by other channels. Channel 4 is now making Indian Summers and ITV are making the renowned Downton Abbey; all stuff that used to be the preserve of the BBC,.

    Years ago the BBC would point to their dramas and claim that it was their 'unique funding' that enabled these shows to be made. Now, this argument no longer exists.

    The sport has nearly vanished entirely from the channels. There is lads mag late on Saturday night which seems to be the Manchester United fanboi show and that's about it. Oh, when they did show the racing at Ascot it seemed to be a four hour fashion show interrupted by a race getting in the way. The BBC did promise us something special and we got were some cooking shows and antique hunts at scruffy car boot sales.

    Worst of all are these panel judge shows which encourage the viewers to spend money to vote for something pointless which appear to be springing up.

    The case for the BBC is weakening by the month and the idea of a compulsory tax on a non-essential item to keep the likes of Lineker and Shearer on massive salaries is, quite frankly, distasteful.

  18. Crisp Silver badge

    "Over the next 10 years distribution over the internet will be as important as over the airwaves"

    Where's he been for the last 10 years?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: "Over the next 10 years"

      Exactly my thought as I read that.

  19. ukgnome Silver badge

    Personally I think the BBC is already an expensive pay-per-subscription service. It doesn't listen to its customers and is a bit old hat.

    Having said that, I like the BBC - I just think it's an expensive dinosaur. It tries to be everything to everyone and sadly it fails. I don't care for homes under the bargain in my attic type of shows, but I do like Doctor Who.

    Maybe go the way of netflix, but premium content online and kill a few digital channels.

    aagghhh i just don't know what's best for the old girl.

  20. MikeHuk

    It's not the transmision that counts it's the quality of programs!

    The BBC used to the the worldwide bench mark for the quality of their programs but is now renowned for it's general mediocrity and lack of direction and purpose. There are still some areas of merit such as documentaries and their news programs and web site but otherwise it needs a good kick in the backside

    I am very happy to pay for viewing if there are programs I would value and want to watch.

  21. malfeasance

    Everyone in the UK consumes BBC output.

    Everyone partakes of BBC output; those of you that say "i'll just watch it on catchup/another channel" are missing the point; if we didn't pay for the BBC, then in all likelihood that program would never have been commissioned. In some respects, the BBC license fee is worth it just for the David Attenborough stuff, or perhaps In Our Time.

    By having a stable income stream, the BBC should be able to take risks and make TV might be worth watching and serve a public good. Yes, I wish that they wouldn't put so much stuff I don't like like Eastenders, Strictly and all that other tired nonsense; we can argue that it isn't taking risks and creating worthwhile TV, but that would be to conflate 2 separate arguments.

    If you go down the road of "I don't use it, so I don't want to pay for it", then you'll end up with the situation where a 22-50yr old doesn't have to pay for the NHS (because they're very unlikely to use it); ditto the childless with the NHS / Education and all that other stuff that we all know we should contribute to; and besides have you seen the crap that's on ABC (aussie)...

    Think of it like the James Webb Space Telescope; it's been in "development" for about 20 years now, and isn't going to get launched for another 3-5... If NASA didn't have a steady income it would never have been able to plan and execute on a 25 year schedule.

    1. jason 7

      Re: Everyone in the UK consumes BBC output.

      The BBC doesn't take risks anymore. Scared of it's own shadow.

      Most of Mr Attenborough's output the past 10 years has been for Sky.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everyone in the UK consumes BBC output.

      "If you go down the road of "I don't use it, so I don't want to pay for it", then you'll end up with the situation where a 22-50yr old doesn't have to pay for the NHS (because they're very unlikely to use it)"

      There are many things that I don't use that I don't have to pay for, and I pay for some things that I don't use but that I don't mind paying for because I might need them one day and I'd like them to be around (like fire-stations).

      I'd like the BBC to be moved to the former category as I don't see them as critical to the quality of life for anyone, but if anyone likes them enough to pay to watch then let them...

      . I'd like the NHS to stay in the latter category as they very much are a vital component to the quality of life to everyone in the UK - we all pay so that we can access it if/when we need to (firestations, education, police, defense, etc).

      I don't pay a yearly license fee so that I am guranteed a steady stream of cadburys chocolate delivered to my door wether I want it or not... the same should be for the bbc...

      simples.

    3. Rob Crawford

      Re: Everyone in the UK consumes BBC output.

      Actually if you watch it on a different channel, then the BBC have received revenue from the 'different channel'

  22. Jon 9

    Worth the fee just for the website

    Their online services alone are worth the license fee - hardly watch any broadcast stuff these days, but the online content is invaluable.

    1. John Sanders
      Holmes

      Re: Worth the fee just for the website

      Jon 9,

      If I was to make a similar online service as the BBC, can I subsidize it at the expense of the the UK tax payer too?

      Just asking.

      1. Awil Onmearse

        Re: Worth the fee just for the website

        @John Sanders.

        ODFO. Almost certainly, some of the infrastructure and definitely some of the technology that got the bits and bytes your drivel onto the page were subsidised by the taxpayer. Toddle off and build your own pipe to El Reg, please.

      2. Vanir

        Re: Worth the fee just for the website

        I am a tax payer but I do not pay a BBC license. Ergo, the BBC is not funded by the tax payer.

        I do not pay a BBC license as I do not view programs, from BBC or other entity, as they are broadcast in real time.

        Owning a TV is not illegal but it seems to be the that only evidence that is required to convict you of the criminal offence of watching programs, the TV being in your house, as they are broadcast.

        Indeed, you have to prove your innocence.

        This is not viable in the technical or legal sense.

      3. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Worth the fee just for the website

        If I was to make a similar online service as the BBC, can I subsidize it at the expense of the the UK tax payer too?

        apparently...

  23. John Sanders
    Big Brother

    """Hall added that ten years ago the BBC and Apple had the same global revenues. "Today, Apple is 20 times bigger. Twenty times bigger. And that gives them colossal buying power.""""

    Then the answer is clear, turn the BBC into a private company, make products people want to actually buy.

    Oh no, I get it, the problem is that the BBC is so good we should have it forced down our throats because we are too ignorant to appreciate it.

    Everybody running a public entity with public money ends with the same twisted ideas about the nature of reality and the work they do.

    And as per the BBC being unbiased, DO NOT MAKE ME LAUGH, it is not funny.

    1. bozoid

      "Then the answer is clear, turn the BBC into a private company, make products people want to actually buy."

      Um, that's what we've got over here in the US, and it's dreadful. Turns out that what "people want to buy" is almost exclusively dreck.

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        The majority of people do indeed enjoy the more "lowbrow" forms of entertainment, and I would expect the content to reflect that. The US does however produce its share of more intelligent programs, it's just that the percentage follows the demographics of the customers and so at first glance the informative stuff and good drama programs gets lost amongst the "dreck". There are far more people interested in "The Jeremy Kyle show" than those interested in "Air Accident Investigations" for example.

  24. JamesPond
    WTF?

    Going back to the 50s

    When Sky (BSkyB) was first launched in the UK, my father predicted we'd end up back in the 50s, . He was meaning in terms of having to go round to someone else's house to watch TV. Obviously in the 50s that was because only one or two houses in the street had a TV. Now its a case of only a few houses in the street (or the pub) that have Sky (or BT or NetFlix or AmazonPrime etc.) that have the particular football/cricket/boxing etc or original content on that you would like to watch.

    Therefore I'm a big believer in the BBC that provides a national service, free of advertising, that everyone in the UK has access to for a relatively small charge. I certainly don't want to go down the USA route of having more advert time than actual programme content.

    However I would be totally against a fixed fee per household. I would guess there is only a very small percentage of UK households that don't have TV/Radio/Internet and don't watch/listen to any BBC programs at all in a year, given the range of content that the BBC provides. But even so, I see no logical reason why a household should be forced into paying for a service if they don't use it. To my mind it totally goes against the principles of democracy, capitalism and just plain fairness.

    1. John Sanders
      Holmes

      Re: Going back to the 50s

      I do not watch TV, I do not use the BBC, I never read their farce of news online, and I got them blocked on my firewall so no one at home connects.

      Why the FCUK would I have to pay them???? WHY????

      1. Craig 2

        Re: Going back to the 50s

        You've got bigger issues than the loss of £150, trust me.

      2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: John the nay sayer

        I for one don't believe you.

        I think the only way it would be possible to avoid using BBC services would be cut yourself off entirely from every form of media. This website included.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: John the nay sayer

          "I think the only way it would be possible to avoid using BBC services would be cut yourself off entirely from every form of media. This website included."

          The same could be said about every large publisher - CNN, Fox, Warner Bros, Sky, The Times etc. etc. Which does not justify forcing everyone to pay an annual fee to them.

  25. linicks
    Coat

    ' "Hall added that ten years ago the BBC and Apple had the same global revenues. "Today, Apple is 20 times bigger. Twenty times bigger. And that gives them colossal buying power." '

    Perhaps the BEEB should issue the TV licence on bright chrome sheets with rounded corners.

  26. a cynic writes...

    Maybe I'm I'm weird...

    Personally I don't mind the licence fee - it's less than I spend on coffee per year. Yes, I realise there's a lot of dross but there is some good stuff and SWMBO actually likes the dross so it's all good.

    However I would mind a household levy. That's just taking the piss.

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Maybe I'm I'm weird...

      "Personally I don't mind the licence fee - it's less than I spend on coffee per year. Yes, I realise there's a lot of dross but there is some good stuff and SWMBO actually likes the dross so it's all good."

      Fine - and I know several people who pay more than the TV licence fee for online gaming because for them it is well worth the money. Does that mean that "World of Warcraft" should be entitled to levy a fee on everyone who uses the Internet?

    2. MrXavia

      Re: Maybe I'm I'm weird...

      I think its worth it just for the kids channels, i can pretty much guarantee most of the programs will be educational as well as fun for my young kids on CBeebies and CBBC...

  27. M7S

    If we have to pay to reflect the internet age....

    ...then it should include an obligation to upgrade the infrastructure to allow us to receive stuff over the internet, on a national basis.

    I think the license fee is good value overall (and I pay it), and have seen some worse proposals than this for funding (a per device charge for each TV sold for example, renewable after x years) mooted recently, but my neighbours and I don't subscribe to Netflix etc due to a poor connection. If we have to pay the BBC on the basis of IPTV or similar being the future, then there needs to be a corresponding payback for consumers in the form of investment in connectivity. We don't just listen to The Archers outside of the towns and cities.

    Even with a decent connection, I'd be nervous that the subscription path might also lead to the end of terrestrial broadcasting which is at least a little bit resilient.

  28. M Gale

    Culture is defined by the people of a country, not by some fuckwads who can't get off the TV tax and can't bear the thought that someone, somewhere might not be paying for them to spew out more shit, regardless of whether that someone is even watching it.

    Fuck you, Tony.

  29. Augie
    FAIL

    Ha, yeah... more money for the most bias'd reporting seen this side of the pond..Oh, what am I saying.. BBC.. Her Majesty's propaganda unit.

    Sorry but no.. the BBC is not essential and to levy a tax on every household just to fund them is beyond a joke. and personally I can think of 101 other things beside their mindless broadcasting that tax should be spent on..

    Schools, Hospitals, Roads to name but 3..

  30. flearider

    only reason I still have a tv is films ..and the wifes soaps .. but £150 just for a few soaps I really do hate that .. so throw a few adverts on bbc let em pay for it that way ..

    ohh that's right then they would have to be accountable and truthful .. Bin Broadcasting Corruption ..

  31. Andy 73

    Do I want the dominant nation (America) to completely dominate the media I watch? No.

    Do I want advertisement and (expensive) subscription rates to be the only way I pay for my media? No. (and whichever way you cut it, the monthly charges for Sky, Netflix etc. are easily as high as the BBC when you consider the range of content they provide).

    Do I think the BBC has innovated in the digital space? Absolutely. Whilst the US argued over content rights for streaming media, and fought patent battles, the BBC delivered iPlayer and made swathes of quality current and historical content available.

    Do I use the BBC news, weather and other sites on a regular basis. Yes.

    Do I listen to Radio Three, or Six? No - but I'm glad they're there to support artists who'd otherwise have to fight angry tigers on "I Have X-factor Get Me Out Of Here" in order to be heard.

    Do I think the BBC is biased? Probably, and it varies across channels and programmes, but so is every other media outlet.

    Should the BBC be funded to continue to punch way above it's weight on the global stage? Absolutely, though how I have no idea.

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      "Do I want the dominant nation (America) to completely dominate the media I watch? No."

      Why do you think that abolishing the TV licence would cause that? If you completely removed all US and BBC content, then what was still available would still be 1000's of times more than you could possibly watch.

      The US will only dominate the content you watch if that's what you want. It is *your* choice whether to get your news from the BBC, CNN, the Daily Mail, Al Jazeera, an English language Russian station or elsewhere, and it is *your choice" whether to watch a film made by one of the big 5 companies in Hollywood or a film made by one of the thousands of Indian film companies.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        I can guarantee cheap US content (or, in other words, shite) will be filling the vacuum that the removal of the BBC would leave. US content is mass produced and sells most internationally and removal of the licence fee would mean that the quality bar is lowered for the private channels so they'll buy in the cheap stuff.

        If you think ITV, Channel 5, Sky, and Virgin would suddenly switch to content from Al Jazeera, Russia Today, Bollywood, and independent documentaries about Polynesian nose flutes then it's just not going to work because while it's got minority appeal it's not what appeals to the majority of the UK.

        As an example I give you Spanish TV, it's wall-to-wall US made-for-TV film shite, not Breaking Bad. The language barrier doesn't stop it, the economics make sure it gets there. To my knowledge they haven't shown Sharknado yet but I'm sure they will do.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          @Dan 55

          "I can guarantee cheap US content (or, in other words, shite) will be filling the vacuum that the removal of the BBC would leave."

          I think this is the point people are making. We are forced to pay for the BBC because it couldnt possibly survive without forcing more money out of the hands of those who dont want it. It just isnt that good. It doesnt do anything of value for a lot of people and yet to watch the good stuff we have to pay for this drivel channel which is openly biased and a proud propaganda machine. Would you be happy being forced to pay for FOX? If not then why are you happy for us to be forced to pay for the British version?

          The beeb should try to actually be a channel people want to watch and pay for. If they achieve that then they dont need to force anyone to pay for it. Otherwise it is just proof of how bad the BBC is.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: @Dan 55

            And don't forget NICAM and countless other technologies... though I believe that technical R&D arm of the corporation felt the axe a while ago.

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: @Dan 55

            BBC is Fox... strawman much?

  32. IsJustabloke Silver badge

    I'll probably be shouted down but...

    I just don't see a problem with the licence fee. I prefer advertising free TV. I suppose I could pay sky an inordinate amount, have adverts and the BBC but I choose not to; no, in real terms the licence fee is great value for money.

    People always bang on about TV but let's not forget the radio... isn't the ginger dick getting around 15/16 million listeners a day?

    I do have a problem with what I perceive as bias and social engineering within the BBC, its staff and most of its "factual" output; But for every bias I see I'm sure someone else will see an opposite bias.

    I do have a problem with iplayer being available to everyone /everywhere and I really don't understand why it isn't behind a pay wall that accepts your licence number as proof. I also have a problem with people being prosecuted for not being able to pay, if its a compulsory charge then there should be state help available for it.

    If paying for the BBC via a licence means I don't have to put up with being reamed by Murdoch I'm happy to pay the 11 quid a month.

    1. Gotterdammerung

      Re: I'll probably be shouted down but...

      Don't wish to shout you down but how can the licence fee be great value for money for those who never watch/listen to BBC output but still have to buy one each year just so that they can legally use other live television services in the UK that are nothing to do with the BBC?

      I'm not a big fan of Rupert Murdoch myself but if you don't want his product you do not need to buy it in order to watch other television services but if you want Sky Sports but don't watch/want the BBC then you still have to buy a TV Licence which pays for the BBC so who's actually doing the reaming?

  33. johnck

    I like the BBC

    I should first state that i like the BBC and don't mind paying £12.13 a month for everything I get from it, including some of the old shows on other channels (Dave, GOLD, History), as others have said no BBC no shows made to be shown on the other channels

    If the BBC goes commercial no TV licence any more, like Channel 4 (Channel 4 is a commercial set up but is publicly owned and had its change over to digital was paid for by the TV licence) what will happen to the other advert supported broadcasters and internet sites. The ad agencies only have so much money and now they have an extra 9ish TV channels, 11+ national radio stations, many more local radio stations, and 1 massive website to spend their money on, iplayer could be considered as separate like the other subscription services, which still have some add on them.

    No offence to this esteemed organ but would you advertise on here if you knew that 90%+ of your audience would also read very smiler stories on bbc.co.uk and could advertise there getting aditional readers who don't read things here. Same with TV why bother with the scifi channel when 99.9% of your audience will be watching Dr Who on the BBC, with many others as well, you would spend your money on the BBC adverts.

    Also who would pay for You View as that come out of the TV licence, the government likes it so they might just add a new tax for it, and waste money setting it up and collecting it

  34. Jim 59

    Unfortunately, the BBC is nothing like what it was, or was ever is intended to be. It isn't a private company, but pretends to be one. It isn't a public service body, but pretends to be one. What is does appear to be is, really, just a darned good wheeze if you can get on the payroll.

  35. Snowman

    Apple of twenty years ago the market valueation meant little; they were nearing insolvency, there products lineup was a mess, their new major OS was extremely late, and there management was a bit of a quagmire.

  36. bigtimehustler

    Ok then all you BBC lovers, fine you like it, so you pay for it, not everyone else! How about you pay for my Sky TV subscription because I personally feel some of it's channels are worth more than the BBC, as do quite a few other people given Sky Subscription numbers. I don't see why you think the BBC should be funded that way because you like it, but not other services when others like those?

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Do you receive any BBC channels as part of your Sky subscription?

  37. Bob Dole (tm)

    Just wow

    Wow. This entire discussion is exactly why you Brits lost the colonies, and why the UK is ultimately irrelevant in the global economy. Good luck with that.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Just wow

      From what I can gather about US society & politics from comments on sites like this and /. I consider them very well lost indeed.

      1. Bob Dole (tm)

        Re: Just wow

        Touché.

        My point is: America dominates due to its ability to allow market forces determine what excels and what whithers and dies. Obviously not in all cases, but in most of them.

        Taxing an entire population to prop up support for an unnecessary service not used by all is the best way to ensure that the service never really grows beyond your own borders. It's also the best way to ensure that it dies when faced with incoming competition honed by beating other rivals without such governmental support.

        Further, actually throwing people in jail who can't afford or don't want to pay for unwanted services is something that belongs ony in the 3rd world.

        Of course, such things should be expected by a country which pioneered using lies to the media in order to sway public opinion. I'm actually surprised that watching the BBC hasn't been mandated by law.

  38. David Pollard
    Stop

    Subscription for prescription?

    The 'health news in return for your data' aspect seems more than a little ominous.

    Are they planning a soft-sell promotion of care.data by partially integrating it with the BBC? Is there perhaps a plan to transfer NHS Choices to the Beeb's custody, with the costs of dispensing advice in this way being covered by the licence fee budget? Is some sort of incentives and rewards system envisaged, such as free access to certain programme streams, for those who don't opt out of care.data?

  39. Rob Crawford

    Previously on PM

    I have supported the BBC and the license fee as being the price you pay for the BBC

    However a levy on every household is an entirely different matter.

    TBH the BBC doesn't serve me very well.

    BBC 1 is of little use to me during the weekend, I'm neither a middle aged woman, gay or a fan of sports

    BBC 1 the rest of the week is out as I don't watch soaps, crap quizzes, cookery and chat shows

    BBC 2 much as BBC 1 these days with Newsnight (personality led news analysis) and a hugely dumbed down selection of documentaries

    BBC 3 The ability to read precludes even considering this abortion

    BBC 4 Hmmm the words Michael Portillo poisons things a bit, maybe 1.5 hours a week tops

    Radio 1 and it's sibling Enough said

    Radio 2 Nope

    Radio 3 Maybe 45 minutes a month

    Radio 4 Seldom maybe 30 minutes a week

    Radio 4 extra maybe an hour a week

    5 Live Never (they have that git Stephen Nolan)

    6 Music Used to listen to it a lot but now they have comedic DJs maybe an hour if they have a documentary or particular guest

    Local Radio Sorry don't listen to C&W, Irish language or the non existent language of Ulster-Scots

    Actually I'm now wondering why I have defended the license fee, if it wasn't for Film 4 I wouldn't watch anything

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Previously on PM

      "Local Radio Sorry don't listen to C&W, Irish language or the non existent language of Ulster-Scots"

      Using that as geolocation I suppose you'll understand what I mean when I say that having visited Australia some years ago TV there looked like a choice of multiple channels of UTV.

    2. Gotterdammerung

      Re: Previously on PM

      You have described basically what my wife and I did when we considered if £145.50 per annum was giving us value for money. After listing the hours of live TV consumed or recorded to be consumed at a later the date the answer was a definitive "No!"

      The BBC rather than ask those not renewing their licence "Why what can we do better that would bring you back?" choose instead to demand "WHY?" with an authotarian tone then not believe anything you say anyway and just assume you are suddenly an evading freeloader so start threatening court apperances, big fines and criminal records despite the fact that you may have held a TV Licence for 20 years or more in the past and always paid on time.

      We are British and don't and never have taken kindly to these type of methods so is it any wonder those NOT breaking the law stick two fingers up to Auntie and her appointed agents and refuse to co operate with them?

  40. Subtilior

    All television is for poorly educated troglodytes. Forcing sophisticated people like myself to pay for the entertainment of a pack of drooling halfwit BBC watchers would be beyond the pale.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      After carefully considering a number if witty, erudite, and considered responses, I have decided to respond merely with:

      Bollocks.

      1. Subtilior

        Just imagine: if you had spent your time doing something other than loafing, slack-jawed in front of whatever gormless celebrities and light entertainment the BBC features these days, you might have become a better person, capable of commenting without vulgarity. It would be impolite, so thankyou for not mocking the TV addicted buffoon, fellow commenters.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Well spoken, Subtilior- though it does not excuse the needless insult in your original post. I merely sought to replicate it. Poorly, but sometimes I fail to match my message to the medium.

          You may be amused to know that rather than sitting slack-jawed in front of the TV, I actually spent over thirty years sitting slack-jawed on the other side of the camera and microphone, though without, I hasten to add, any control over editorial policy. Damn it all, I couldn't even get them to remove the music bed from the traffic reports on local radio...

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Yeah, you can do something better with your time when you don't watch the BBC like pointlessly insult people on a forum.

  41. This post has been deleted by its author

  42. Enrico Vanni

    Rupert plays the long game...

    As I said in another thread, give in to this latest demand to 'privatise' the BBC and you might as well just hand it to Mr. Murdoch as he currently controls the means to secure broadcast TV (either by adopting the system developed by his crack ex Mossad team, or by choosing a rival system that his crack ex Mossad team will compromise). BBC needs a clean transition to web only distribution (which is still many, many years off) so disturbing that process by giving Murdoch control of the current main distribution system will be a mistake we will rue (just like the Anzacs).

    The BBC was the first, the Alpha, the origin of broadcast TV in the UK. Do they deserve special treatment - damn right they do.

    1. Gotterdammerung

      Re: Rupert plays the long game...

      I can see your argument regarding Sky possibly swallowing up a privatised BBC just like it did with the fledgling British Satellite Broadcasting or BSB in the 90's.

      Unfortunately the BBC has has gone from being a notoriously thrifty organisation to being a decadent empire building behemoth that is hemorrhaging licence payers money and is now in danger of tripping over it's own feet.

      It was the innovator of television broadcast in Britain I agree but I do not agree that the public should be expected to protect an elite fews bonuses and pensions forever simply because the BBC refuses to move with the times and enter a competitive market which by all rights it should be able to dominate given it's past ability for making good programmes that appealed across a wide age range audience.

  43. My-Handle

    Actually...

    I don't know where I stand on this.

    I have never paid for a TV license. I've never had a TV that was in any condition to receive a signal (did have one for consoles though). I don't like the way that, as soon as I move into a new property, I am assumed by TV Licensing to be watching TV and that I owe them that fee, based on no evidence at all. Even after I follow their rules and tell them no, I don't watch TV, they decide to ignore that statement after an arbitrary period and begin sending letters threatening investigation, enforcers and legal action again. And, I will reiterate, on no evidence whatever of me committing a crime. I understand that TV licensing are not the BBC, but the two are irrevocably tied together, and behaviour like that does not make me inclined to stump up a fee of any kind out of sheer good will.

    On the other hand, I understand that the BBC does need funding in order to exist. It does offer services and media that I use (such as the BBC News website and a small handful of shows on iPlayer), but those services I use are not covered by the TV License. If I use them, should I not be paying for them? By all rights, I should be.

    My conclusion is probably that both the TV License and the Poll Tax are both inappropriate methods of gaining funding for the BBC. Different people use different services, and to a different degree, and both of the aforementioned methods are all-or-nothing, blunt-instrument ways of dealing with it.

    Having said that, I have never required the services of the Fire & Rescue, I rarely used the roads until a few months ago, and my tax also goes towards employing a bunch of politicians, some of whom I would quite like to punch in the face. On the other hand, I have very likely gotten much more than my money's worth from the NHS. Lumping a TV License in with general tax probably isn't all that bad an idea in the grand scheme of things, as it will likely balance out across the board.

    Like I said, I don't know where I stand on this.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Actually...

      "Lumping a TV License in with general tax probably isn't all that bad an idea in the grand scheme of things, as it will likely balance out across the board."

      You want a govt controlled broadcaster? Yes I know what some commentators say about the Beeb but a broadcaster actually funded from general taxation would actually be what they think it is now and something very much different to what it really is today.

      1. Steve Foster

        @Doctor Syntax

        The BBC is already subject to influence from the government of the day. Whether it is funded by the licence fee or by grant from general taxation is not relevant to that status.

        A switch to grant-funding doesn't have to mean any other changes (though such an opportunity might be considered as a good time to look at whether any such changes are appropriate).

    2. Vanir

      Re: Actually...

      @My-Handle

      'I have never paid for a TV license. I've never had a TV that was in any condition to receive a signal (did have one for consoles though). I don't like the way that, as soon as I move into a new property, I am assumed by TV Licensing to be watching TV and that I owe them that fee, based on no evidence at all. Even after I follow their rules and tell them no, I don't watch TV, they decide to ignore that statement after an arbitrary period and begin sending letters threatening investigation, enforcers and legal action again. And, I will reiterate, on no evidence whatever of me committing a crime. I understand that TV licensing are not the BBC, but the two are irrevocably tied together, and behaviour like that does not make me inclined to stump up a fee of any kind out of sheer good will.'

      I too go through this; I'm not license fee payer. I ignore all the letters from the BBC's fee collecting Gestapo and just wait for the 'inspector' to arrive. I let the person search my house (for a TV?) just to avoid hassle: I have to prove my innocence.

      We have to consider a single person who owns their own home, and a TV. They lose their job. The only benefits they get is council tax and JSA which is £72.40 a week if they do not have savings above a small amount. £150 a year becomes a lot of food. So what do they do about that TV? It's proof that they are guilty of a criminal offense. Can they afford legal support? They will not be eligible for legal aid.

      Overall, I do not have much against the BBC regarding their services; I use their news services on the internet and I listen to Radio 2 and 4. I do not trust the BBC Trust to fulfil their remit. The biggest issue for me is remuneration.

      1. Tachikoma

        Re: Actually...

        Another "fee dodger" here, just moved house and updated my details, so can't wait for the guy to randomly knock on my door and try to intimidate me before I warmly invite him in, confusing him greatly before showing the TV in one corner of the room connected to a PS3, the aerial in the opposite corner of the room, then drawing his attention to two bookcases full of DVD's and three bookcases full of books. I pay for what I watch, when it comes out on DVD, sure it probably costs me more in the long run, but that's my choice.

        1. Gotterdammerung

          Re: Actually...

          You are not obliged by law to invite anyone from TV Licensing into your home, warmly or not and should refrain from doing so if you don’t want to.

          Your set-up as described here complies with the current legislation regarding TV Licensing in the UK so why should you let any Tom Dick or Harriet into your home just to prove your innocence?

          If TV Licensing believe you are breaking the law it is for them to prove not just insinuate that you are then force you to go on the defence and prove your innocence everytime they choose to call.

          PC Plod doesn’t knock on my door insinuating that I have an illegal shotgun stored in my home just because I don't have a shotgun licence or a firearms certificate. Nor does anyone bang on my door demanding to come in and check that I haven't got any fishing equipment just because I don't have a fishing rod licence.

          It's the same thing really and those who enjoy television and have always had a licence will never understand how the methods employed by ultimately the BBC irk those who legally do not have a TV licence and would only start to understand if we had the ridiculous scenarios outlined above.

          1. Tachikoma

            Re: Actually...

            I got bored of doing that years ago when they kept knocking on my door and sending threatening letters. Was fun for a while seeing the frustration on their faces as I refused to let them in as I had already declared I don't watch or have any interest in watching TV. Now I just enjoy watching them get caught off guard when I invite them in and show my living room is set up to make it impossible to connect the aerial to the TV without an hour dragging heavy furniture around.

            My sister absolutely hates that I don't pay as "its an institution and you should pay even if you don't watch TV" and for a while refused to turn her TV on when I popped over so I wasn't "getting it for free"

            Some people are too precious about the BBC, I'm fine with that as long as people realise that people like me and those above just don't think its worth it. Not ragging on the beeb, I just wouldn't get my moneys worth so don't bother with any of it.

            1. Gotterdammerung

              Re: Actually...

              I fully share your sentiments Tachikoma I too have no interest in getting involved in a long war with TV Licensing and would rather just get on with my life than waste my time eagerly awaiting the heavy footsteps of TV Licensing and thinking up new ways to frustrate and irritate them as encouraged by certain internet "resistance" forums.

              Your sister no disrespect to her has been brainwashed by years of BBC propaganda of how good and lucky we are as a nation to have it.

              Personally I believe they are living off a past reputation but if that is still the case that the BBC is still value for money then they should have no problem attracting subscribers and people queuing round the block to get their hands on a BBC set top box this would achieve the same end result as a universal levy in that it ends evasion rates overnight but gives those who like me and you who are currently happy living without TV the choice to continue to do so.

              A universal levy would be literally a captive audience.

  44. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Counter blow

    I think this speech is really a response to the recent suggestion of making the Beeb PTV. It's intended to make whoever that was realise it might be better to let things stay as they are.

    What Tony Hall really needs to do to justify licensing is to raise programme standards to what they were at in the heyday by assuming that at least a reasonable proportion of viewers and listeners have an attention span that lasts a whole hour. Horizon would be a good litmus test; it was one of their best achievements in terms of quality achieved over a long run and has subsequently fallen furthest.

  45. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    What did the BBC ever do for us?

    Nothing!

    Apart from, well, almost every technical invention in the broadcasting sphere from colour TV that *worked* (let's not mention the calamities of NTSC or SECAM) to trellis encoding for digital TV and everything in between. They sit on standards committees throughout the industry; they invent and develop and document and persuade and link and cajole so that broadcasting works throughout the world.

    Lots of people out there know how to build TV and radio systems, but on the whole the BBC showed them how to do it.

    -

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who cares how it's funded?

    I think we're way beyond worrying about how the Beeb is funded. These words fill me with horror :

    Letting our audience become schedulers. Giving you the health news that you need, based on data you choose to share with us."

    "This is the start of a real transformation – the myBBC revolution. How to reinvent public service broadcasting through data."

    This is the new DG talking???

    The BBC as a producer of worthwhile broadcasting is dead, if this is what the new broom has in store for it.

  47. Tom 7 Silver badge

    The big mistake we're all making here

    is assuming the idiot who announced this has any interest in keeping the BBC public. This sounds more like a deliberate attempt to annoy as many people as possible so he can run a privatised BBC and make shitloads for the two or three years it takes for him to manage the prime assets into dispersing into the ether.

    1. jason 7

      Re: The big mistake we're all making here

      I like your thinking there.

  48. Peter Prof Fox

    Household

    What's that exactly?

    I'm a zero TV household yet they want me to pay as much as a 5-moron family?

    I won't be getting a TV until remote controls have a Chainsaw-the-arms-off-the-fuckwit-reporter-standing-right-in-front-of-something.

  49. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    The BBC is the only British website in the top five British websites? errr... so the other four websites in the top five British websites aren't British websites? ...???

    1. Steve Foster

      @J.G.Harston

      The actual comment was: "Hall also noted that the BBC was the only British website in the UK’s top five."

      Presumably the "UK's top five" refers to most-visited rather than source location, in order for the comment to make sense.

  50. YARR

    I think the fairest system is a free market model where people pay for what they watch, giving broadcasters an economic incentive to produce content that people want. A mandatory license fee does not befit a free society, even if the BBC generally produces good content. Perhaps an alternate way to guarantee local programming would be a free market model but with a regulation that broadcast providers (FreeView, Sky, Virgin, BT etc.) must provide a minimum % of locally produced content in any set packages they offer. This would prevent the situation whereby people who primarily want Sport or Movie packages from missing out on local content that they might not choose to pay extra for. This might be a core set of local (possibly ad-supported) channels provided for free, subsidised by local premium content on paid for channels (preferably without ads).

    As more people work or travel internationally, there are many Brits who move abroad who would willingly pay for British content, and likewise many foreigners working in Britain who may primarily want foreign content. A free, open and international market place would allow more people to receive the content they want to watch. The potential loss of income from the local market can be compensated by selling more content abroad.

  51. Oninoshiko

    Why are they compairing to Apple?

    Last I looked Apple doesn't produce ANY content.

  52. jason 7

    If the BBC put everything they have made on iPlayer

    Then I would consider £150 a year fairly reasonable to access all that content.

    All the Dr Who, Blackadder, classic drama etc. etc.

    However, as they like to keep back all the good quality stuff from the past for DVD revenue it's not likely to happen.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: If the BBC put everything they have made on iPlayer

      Perhaps the DVD revenue is WHY the £150 is a pretty reasonable sum?

      1. jason 7

        Re: If the BBC put everything they have made on iPlayer

        But if the license fee payer has paid for it already...

  53. WylieCoyoteUK
    Holmes

    Lot of heat and noise on here

    Poll Tax?

    That was per person, not per household, remember?

    License fee

    Started off as a way to pay for the infrastructure, only the BBC had the transmitters.

    I don't really mind paying the license fee, I use the BBC quite a lot.

    But I have no choice but to pay for commercial TV, even though I don't use it, ever.

    Every time you buy a product that is advertised on TV, you pay for the commercial TV companies.

    I bet it adds up to a lot more than £145 a year.

    Bear in mind, if there was no Freeview then the monthly sub costs would increase, as they would then become the only game in town, and advertisers, bless them, would love to use more and more airtime to feed you the important stuff.

  54. Oli 1

    I really don't understand peoples obsession with the bbc, yes i know fox news is awful, but so is the beeb! I'd rather not read (or pay for) any of it.

    Wheres that option?

  55. Dan Paul

    Don't be blackmailed...

    PBS over here in the states is constantly begging for money (even though they are not even commercial free) then they say "if we don't raise enough money from the beggathon then you can kiss Downton Abbey goodby". And they charge the local cable company (Time Warner) to carry their programming as well.

    The fact is that ALL the so called "public broadcasters" are a bunch of blackmailing thugs.

    Their business model is obsolete and they still can't figure out that another production company will surely do Dr. Who or Downton Abbey if the Beeb, PBS or ITV won't. Or they will "knock off" a similar product and not even pay franchise fees.

    If it's popular enough, even the major networks will copy or buy a successful series. Hollywood hasn't had an original idea in 40 years and they aren't hurting for cash.

    The Beeb doesn't deserve a dime more than they get from reselling their "spent" series to others. If they can't figure it out then someone else will come along that can.

    The sooner they learn to live within their means, the better. It might set a great example for governments everywhere.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Don't be blackmailed...

      "Another production company will do Dr Who."

      You mean like that fuck awful thing with the time/space portals and the dinosaurs and the ad breaks?

  56. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Just a few bits of pedantry...

    The BBC is not a state broadcaster. It is *funded* by the state, but that does not make it a state broadcaster. Just because you receive your funding from the state does not make you an arm of the state, otherwise Virgin Trains would be an arm of the state.

    "Privatise the Beeb, sell it off". The BBC is owned by.... the BBC. It is *not* a state-owned entity. It is a self-owned corporation created by statute, just like Channel 4, the Olympic Delivery Authority, various others. Just because you receive public funding does not make you a state-owned entity, otherwise Virgin Trains would be a state-owned entity, as would whoever supplies the sandwiches to the Commons Tea Rooms. Entities such as Directly Operated Railways t/o East Coast Trains, and UK Financial Investments (that owns vaious bits of banks) *are* state-owned.

    That doesn't mean that the government can't sell the BBC's assets and pocket the money, as it tried to do with the original TSB, and the Beeb's incorporation statutes state that any wound-up assets pass to the state, but legally, structurally and operationally, the BBC is *already* a private company.

  57. Jess

    If the BBC becomes funded by a universal tax

    that means it is directly funded by the government and then faces great pressure to lose its independence.

    At least with the present tax on installation and use of equipment, there is some sort of correlation to its customers. If you don't like it, you can get rid of the TV.

  58. x 7

    whats a TV licence? ;-)

  59. Deltics

    Point of order m'lud...

    The Poll Tax was a head tax, paid by INDIVIDUALS, but only certain individuals, specifically those of voting age - hence POLL tax.

    The Council Tax and the Rates system were HOUSEHOLD taxes imposed across all households.

    The current TV License is in fact more similar to the Poll Tax, since it is imposed contingent only upon some qualifying criteria (broadly speaking: owning a TV, being the viewing equivalent of being able to vote. i.e. being able to watch) and the proposed replacement is more akin to the COUNCIL tax - a uniformly imposed charge.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    F'off zombie broadcaster

    I don't need or want a retarded/archaic TV License or equivalent because I have zero interest in broadcast (idiot tube) TV or (idiot media) Radio.

    For music, Amazing Radio makes BBC Radio and other stations sound /so very stale/, which is probably why they are too scared to let them on DAB nationally, so I have an internet radio.

    All my video comes from the net, so both the zombie BBC and the many f'ing years persistent, zombie license bothers have /zero business/ with me; it's about f'ing time them boring, politically corrupt, parasites were starved of revenue and went bankrupt!

  61. Sarah Balfour
    Mushroom

    I LOATHE the Bigoted Biased Corporation…

    …and I DESPISE the NHS, too. I've explained WHY I find the NHS so particularly abhorrent on here fuck knows HOW many times and, as no fucker is listening or, if they are, don't give a shit, I'm not going to do so again.

    The poor are the ones getting fucked over the most by the NHS. It's like the govt has listened to,Dead Kennedys 'Kill The Poor' and taken it as an instruction manual.

    The NHS is the epitome of CAPITALISTIC GREED, and CORPORATE EVIL. It's also the perfect example of a FASCIST organisation.The very fact you believe otherwise proves I'm right.

    It's 'healthcare' controlled by the STATE - WTF would you blindly trust the state with your health…?! You're ALL out of your tiny minds! Let the state control your health and, by extension, it'll control you. I hate to keep mentioning them (no, actually, I don't) but statins - WHY do you believe that cholesterol causes heart disease and, therefore, you need to take a statin to control it…? Could it be because the NHS told you…,! Have you EVER stopped to think for one split nanosecond that the NHS could be WRONG - or, more accurately - LYING…?! 99.9999999999999999999999999% of what you read on NHS Choices is UTTER BULLSHIT! 'Truths, debunked whilst I was barely out of prep school, yet they're STILL being taught as gospel at med schools even now.

    All this 'SAVE OUR NHS!' bollocks is doing EXACTLY what the fascists WANT you to do, which is WHY I'll,have no part of it.

    REMEMBER

    MORALITY IS DOING WHAT IS RIGHT, REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU'RE TOLD

    OBEDIENCE IS DOING WHAT YOU'RE TOLD, REGARDLESS OF WHAT IS RIGHT

    State-drugged sheep, the whole fucking lot of ya!

    Kill, kill, kill the NHS/kill, kill, kill the NHS/kill, kill, kill the NHS

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: I LOATHE the Bigoted Biased Corporation…

      I think I would be a bit pissed with the NHS if they had fucked up my meds that much too

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    No wait there's more, it gets better..

    Then we got them to personally pay for the propaganda!

    It was amazing, some of them were ignoring the vision stimulus so we taxed them all, those who previously declined realised, as they were funding it, they might as well take a look...

    Priceless.

    Did we laugh! mind you we had to keep a bit sober as those notes don't bundle themselves you know.

  63. Sirius Lee

    The existence of a tax payer funded media behemoth is *reason* why there are no other UK sites in the top 5. What investor would think it a good idea to put risk capital up against a mandatory tax?

    The BBC is a market distortion that in any other field would be outlawed. Lloyds Bank was faced with selling branches if it did the governments bidding an bought the Co-op Bank based on EU rules about government funding. The Aerospace industry cannot be funded directly by governments (its arms length - pun intended - through purchases).

    Yet the BBC gets away with a hypothecated tax (anyone else remember Prescott denoucing hypothecated taxes using road tax as an example while he was DPM?) so we can watch Come Dancing and East Enders.

    The BBC is a shambles. The BBC 'news' is rehashed Yahoo! News, there is almost no science on the BBC (the 'Science and Nature' category on iPlayer is a litany of ancient nature programmes or rehashed Horizons).

  64. Zap

    Silly Tony Hall

    Tony Hall is being silly and it is just wishful thinking that will probably bring the end of the license fee sooner rather than later, a day I hope never comes.

    I listen to BBC Radio a lot, well Radio4 but I watch very very little BBC and what I do watch I download.

    I do not watch ITV or SKY either, can't stand the ads, so I got myself a NowTV (rebadged Roku) box and installed something called Plex which gives me a Netflix like interface on my content. Sorry Auntie, I do not need a license for this as it is not live TV and even if the law was changed, I would not pay, on principal. The BBC has priced themselves out of the market, they need a whole different approach, make it free if you agree to receiving marketing info by post, email and online.

    You would not need to enforce it (getting rid of the Capita Goons you see on YouTube) and could offer value added programming for a subscription, still with no ads in programmes.

    Now that I have tested Plex I will buy a box like the Amazon Fire TV or a better Roku. I can download content with Amazon Prime but also add all my other content on a PC share, it is all done wirelessly.

    What the BBC needs to do is commission its channels for use outside the UK on a paid service, it can do this via the services out there or get its own Roku type box.

    The issue here is the technology and the BBC needs to get with it, it needs to get rid of Flash Player online, use all the other ways of streaming.

    They have no right to impose and they can Foxtrot Oscar if they think they can force people to pay.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    if its a tax

    then place a limit below which you do not pay - mostly because its not worth pursuing the actual poor because they have no money and gaoling them costs the country far more than its worth. Base it on the minimum wage perhaps - and only for PAYE taxpayers.(dont want a Billionaire whos avoided/evaded tax to get it for free)

  66. John Savard Silver badge

    The Truth is Simple

    Poll taxes are evil, and TV license fees are evil. If the BBC needs government funding, let it come from progressive income taxes like anything else worth doing that costs a great deal of money. It has been a terrible tragedy that lower-income people in Britain have had to suffer under the burden of BBC license fees as a condition of getting access to entertainment. This also meant that in the 8-bit computer era, people had to buy expensive monitors for their computers, because using cheap old disused TV sets, as North Americans did, would have meant they would have had to pay extra license fees - and so Britain fell behind in the early microcomputer era.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: The Truth is Simple

      Um, no: in the majority of households, the *existing* TV was used for the eight-bit computer. When the pressure for that resource grew too high, a second TV might be purchased.

      A TV was used because, just maybe, every 8-bit computer made came with an Astek modulator on it and something approaching PAL output, but only rarely with RGB outputs.

      A TV was significantly cheaper than a monitor, but if used only for the computer (or as a second TV in a household) did not require a licence.

    2. Jess

      Re: people had to buy expensive monitors for their computers,

      No they didn't. It was (and is) perfectly legal to use a TV as a computer monitor with no TV licence. What you need a licence for is to have it installed for reception or to use it for reception.

  67. Big_Ted

    Me I would be more than happy to pay the licence fee and

    Also pay an extra £5-10 a month if I was given access to the complete BBC library of tv and rado content to stream.

    Just rewatching all the old stuff would mean no Netflix or Amazon prime needed for many years. add to that the radio streams and I wouldn't need audio books or podcasts so much either.

    Giving the Beeb permission to stream their archive content would give them many millions a year and increase it to billions if they could stream it world wide.

  68. Gotterdammerung

    No to a universal levy

    Whilst the current system is far from perfect it does at least allow households to "opt out" of watching television altogether and not pay for it if they so wish. Although a universal levy would still not force households to physically sit and watch television if they did not want to it would force them to pay for a service which they do not want and understandably some will find this notion distasteful.

    Where does this idea of universal levys end should we scrap the Road Tax and charge everyone a flat rate regardless of the method of transport they use, including their own two feet ?

    I personally do not have a television licence but neither do I consume BBC products via live broadcasting or the iPlayer service not because I'm anti BBC but because the current content being served up by the BBC does not interest me and hasn’t done so for quite some time. Therefore I do not feel it represents value for money for me personally. If the BBC was to roll back the years and start producing the type of content that they used to say 2 or 3 decades ago then I would reconnect my equipment and buy a television licence without prompting.

    However I doubt that is going to happen as times and tastes change but that doesn't mean people should be forced to change along with them if they do not want to. A universal levy if it was imposed would be doing just that IMHO.

  69. MCROnline

    If there is a levy for every household irrispective of whether they watch TV or not, then I believe the Road Fund license should be paid by everyone, irrispective if you own a vehicle or not, when you walk you cross a road or walk down one dont you!?

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They were rubbish during the Scottish Referendum - people in Scotland thought they were biased, I thought they were being their usual crap selves.

    Why should I pay for Eastenders, Strictly etc (that isn't even PSB) it's tosh that the people who do like it should pay for.

    1. Gotterdammerung

      The BBC in it's current form runs along the lines of a nationalised industry where the more profitable areas will subsidise a less profitable area for example some artsy radio programme broadcast in the Welsh language will not appeal to the majority of licence fee payers such as Londoners or the North of England who are subsidising those programmes even though they never listen to them.

      This is peddled, as being fair to everyone by the BBC when in reality the licence fee is kept inflated for the majority just to satisfy the needs of various minorities.

      In the real world if a bus route only has three passengers a day and is costing more to run than it's making then it is cut or those three passengers can expect the cost of the fare to rise on that particular journey because it is not popular.

      At the very least the BBC should be looking at offering packages so viewers can opt in to the type of entertainment that they want to consume and opt out of that which they do not want and fix their prices accordingly.

      If a less popular type of entertainment was more expensive than a popular one then those consumers would have to ask themselves if that entertainment is really worth the price tag on it to them just like we all do with other luxury items.

  71. doodleMonkey

    Really?

    Laughable that there's such desperation to keep the BBC as a public funded organisation; yet more vital services such as health care slowly get privatised. Whatever you think of the BBC, no deaths would directly occur from it not existing. If you're okay with private health care; why would n't you be okay with media being privately funded? If it's down to populism degrading perceived quality; isn't that just cultural snobbery?

  72. This Side Up

    The way to do it is pay the BBC out of general taxation on the basis of the agreed licence fee per household. That gets rid of all the overheads for administration, enforcement and annoyung ads. We need more money for the health service so National Insurance should be increased to cover that.

  73. doodleMonkey

    ...And ..

    Over the last few years the BBC has moved and acted (or not acted) to position itself so it can justify a blanket fee regardless of TV ownership.

    Cleverly and dishonestly, it has position the iplayer without any actual controls (other than very basic geographical ones) to who can view content. For example there's nothing stopping a person without a TV license watching Iive TV on iplayer.. yet all it would take would be a 'Enter the serial from your TV license' to access live BBC content. Not foolproof but at least a step. Cynically, BBC has made no attempt to restrict usage and hence now uses this justify they are universal.

    Basically a BBC land grab on the Internet and media.

  74. John 120

    Is it me or does the BBC sound like an overly spoilt only child, where they can make decisions without having to worry where the money comes from? Once again, expecting customers and non-customers alike to pay for its products\services, regardless of weather you use them or not?

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