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
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Sport
football
News
i100
Life and Style
Virtual reality headset: 'Essentially a cinema screen that you strap to your face'
techHow virtual reality is thrusting viewers into frontline of global events and putting film-goers at the heart of the action
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
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: Marketing Manager - Manchester - Urgent Requirement!

£30000 - £35000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Sauce Recruitment: Senior Management Accountant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for a independently owne...

Sauce Recruitment: Senior Management Accountant

£17 - £20 per hour: Sauce Recruitment: Working for a independently owned and c...

Guru Careers: Mac Operator / Artworker

£Negotiable (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Mac Operator / Artworker to ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness