The tinkers at the DCMS can't resist messing around. They've found £60m over the next three years to deliver "under-represented genres to UK broadcasting". This is an alternative to top-slicing the licence fee, but there's a lot that needs sorting out before such a scheme can start.
First, who chooses which programmes to subsidise ? We are pointed to New Zealand, where a slice of general tax revenue is handed out to indies and others (the two main tv channels are ad-funded, and there is no licence fee) by a board of great and good. This year they decided quiz programmes were under-represented, and funded a return of Mastermind NZ. And we are pointed to Ireland, where the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland dole out 7% sliced from the 160 euro licence fee, in little parcels to radio and tv programmes they fancy - but never 100% of the cost.
My point is that, at £20m a year, the superstructure and bidding process will take out a good 15%; then presumably the DCMS team offer subsidised programming to preferred broadcasters, seeking some guarantees that they'll get a good slot. They'll whack ads around them anyway. All a bit odd, but clearly testing the water for a preferred Conservative way of de-stabilising the BBC.