Thursday, December 8, 2016


At your service, filleting the bits of Ofcom's first big thoughts on keeping the BBC to the new Charter....(my italics)

Distinctiveness is at the heart of the new Charter and Agreement, and embodied in the BBC’s new Mission and Public Purposes. Ofcom will regulate with this in mind and to ensure that the BBC delivers high-quality, distinctive output for all its audiences. This requires complex and nuanced judgement that will allow the BBC to take creative risks. An important part of Ofcom’s role is to monitor what the BBC is providing and to measure the impact that this is having on viewers and listeners. We recognise that tastes, and therefore what is likely to be distinctive to audiences, will change over time, and do not underestimate the challenge of creating meaningful measures for distinctiveness.

(Head of complex and nuanced judgement is, presumably, Interim Content Board Director Nick Pollard, supported by Content Group Director Kevin Bakhurst)

In due course, we will be consulting on how we will set and administer the operating licence regime for the BBC’s public services

(This is the bit the BBC needs pronto - get on with it)

Performance: We have numerous regulatory tools at our disposal in this area: we must set and publish one or more operating licences; we can set quotas for the BBC; we can publish a range of annual; periodic and ad hoc assessments of delivery; conduct research; investigate complaints; and we can set regulatory requirements and enforce compliance. We will consult on our proposals3 for how these tools will fit together.

(Love quotas.  Is The One Show factual ? Is a book interview on 5Live or the News Channel 'news' ? Is Top Gear really factual or entertainment ?)

It is important to acknowledge that fulfilling new aspects of the BBC’s Mission and Public Purposes in the Charter cannot happen overnight: the very nature of programme commissioning and production means that some genres in particular (drama, entertainment, specialist factual) have long lead in times. We therefore expect to see adjustments to commissioning and delivery where required over time, and we will direct our early attention to performance assessment of these areas, or where we have identified clear gaps in performance - based on evidence gleaned from a number of sources.

(Commit to Strictly and Call The Midwife for Charter duration NOW, Charlotte)

Our initial thinking, on which we will be consulting, is that the performance measures will draw on:  investment in original UK content;
 the availability of the BBC’s content and how accessible it is;
how many people consume the BBC’s content, and how much content people consume; 
 audience research to understand public opinion on the BBC’s performance and its impact on audiences; and,
 any contextual factors relevant to assessing the BBC’s performance.

(Yes, you can keep chasing ratings)

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