Sunday, July 12, 2015

Fixed ?

BBC DG Lord Hall has set out an upbeat view of the licence fee poker game in a comment piece for the Guardian/Observer.

One important point: in his view, in future you'll require a licence to watch catch-up tv on any device. "The government will modernise the way we define a TV licence so that people will need one to use services such as BBC iPlayer."

One omission - no mention of promises either way on de-criminalising non-payment of fines imposed for licence evasion. So naughty iPlayer users might not feel that obliged to pay up, potentially growing the percentage of dodging 'households'. I find it very difficult to imagine this system really working without encryption - still the thin end of a wedge pushing us to a BBC based on subscription.

"Now that we have fixed the funding settlement", Tone confidently continues. Not, I think, in John Whittingdale's mind we haven't. He's interested in 'scope' - directing the BBC as to the sort of programmes and channels it should make and operate. Smaller scope = reduced funding.  And if the Chancellor says "Leave it. John - I really promised", then he'll be more determined to clip the BBC's entertainment wings in favour of duller stuff, to suit his friends and advisers from the commercial sector. La lutte continue, as we say in Islington.

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