Licence fee wins backing for 10 years

The Labour peer leading the government review of the future of the BBC has produced a report which suggests keeping the licence fee for 10 more years.

The Labour peer leading the government review of the future of the BBC has produced a report which suggests keeping the licence fee for 10 more years.

Lord Burns said his panel of media experts felt that the "balance of the debate" on whether the tax on viewers should be replaced by another funding mechanism lay "in favour of the licence fee for the time being".

But the panel, which approached rival broadcasters who had criticised the BBC's lack of a clear remit and its competitive stance, said it had also been "impressed" by the suggestion that there would come a time when the licence fee was no longer appropriate.

Speaking after the publication of the report, Lord Burns said the idea of the BBC having eventually to rely on subscriptions for funding was "sufficiently likely that it needs to be taken seriously". He recommended that funding questions be reviewed around 2011, halfway through the next charter period.

The Burns panel also raised the possibility of advertising appearing on the BBC. "Some advertising would help to sustain the provision of some services free at point of use and which do not exclude anyone," the report said. "And, conceptually, it is not clear why carrying advertising on television services is so different from other forms of commercial income, such as magazine publishing."

The panel - which includes Sly Bailey, the chief executive of Trinity Mirror, Alan Budd, the former chief adviser to the Treasury and Tim Gardam, the former director of television at Channel 4 - was set up in June of this year to "marshal the evidence" emerging from public consultations on the future of the BBC as part of the BBC charter review. The BBC's charter, its seventh since the broadcaster was established in 1922, comes to an end in 2006.

The BBC's remit needed to be more clearly defined in response to the changing television landscape, the panel said. It said that an "over-competitive BBC" could prevent a rival from making programmes that were of benefit to the public.

The growth of digital television would also create a market in which broadcasters such as ITV and Channel 4 would find it harder to produce "landmark" programmes, which benefited the public but did not generate income.

The corporation needed to find a balance, the panel said. "A diet of worthy television and radio, which simply fills in the gaps not provided by commercial suppliers and which only plays to small audiences because of a failure to engage, will not maintain the support the BBC has enjoyed."

The panel suggested that the BBC abandon areas of programming, such as makeover programmes and "certain types of game show", which it said could be shown on other channels. It also said it was not always appropriate for the BBC to try to poach "talent" from rivals if it was only going to reproduce similar programming.

The panel said that the BBC should continue to invest in comedy and that such "entertainment" should be included in definitions of what constituted public service broadcasting. "Narrative comedy is a cultural benefit that is under-provided in the commercial UK market."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Martin of Coldplay performs live for fans at Enmore Theatre on June 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
music
Sport
Dave Mackay lifts the FA Cup in 1967 having skippered Spurs to victory
football
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Arts and Entertainment
As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
film
Life and Style
Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, is now worth $5.3bn
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst - High Wycombe - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Sauce Recruitment: New Media Marketing Manager - EMEA - Digital Distribution

£35000 - £45000 per annum + up to £45,000: Sauce Recruitment: The Internation...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn