'Me-too' BBC criticised for copying others

The BBC comes under fire today in a new report on public service broadcasting which accuses the corporation of being a "me-too broadcaster with a serial record of imitation".

The paper by the Centre for Policy Studies said the BBC's remit should be reduced over time to include only those programmes and services which the market would not provide. This reduction should be matched by cuts in the licence fee, the report, To Inform, Educate and Entertain? British Broadcasting in the 21st Century, said.

A BBC created today, rather than in the 1920s, would look very different to the corporation as it currently exists, the report argues.

A brand new BBC would focus tightly on providing viewers with what the market could not or would not deliver, it said – such as impartial news and current affairs, children's television, classical music and speech radio.

The report said that public money had left the BBC "far from being a powerhouse of originality", adding: "Pirate radio stations spawned first Radio 2 and then Radio 1. Sky News brought forth BBC News 24. ITV and Channel 4's success with reality TV and phone voting saw the BBC hurrying to catch up. The BBC is often a parasite on others' ideas."