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Topic Title: Should the BBC licence fee be abolished in this modern pluralist media world?
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Created On: 25 January 2014 06:18 PM
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 25 January 2014 06:18 PM
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jarathoon

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The BBC collected a licence fee income of £3.7 billion in 2013, with other revenue comming in at £1.4 billion. Giving a total budget of around £5.1 billion.

I think the time has come to spead the licence fee across more media content providers, including internet broadcasting media providers.

I think that the money the public provide should be split into funding areas like open platform broadcasting infrastructure as well as media content that is channels through it. Media content could be split into funding areas such as: news and current affairs, factual, education and learning, music, religion and ethics, drama, films, general entertainment etc

I think any company with the necessary skill base should be able to bid for the money in order to provide a particular service or produce a particular film, programme or programme series to be syndicated out to all the various media channels. I think more people should get a chance to work in media, with only the best staying at it their whole career.

I think the BBC has done well for us in Britain, but it is more like the Best Buddies Corporation now desparately trying to maintain the status quo in its own interests than the British Broadcasting Corporation of old. If Scotland goes independent, they are likely to want to grab control of their own licence fee payments anyway. This may lead to more money for regional programming more generally.

At the moment the local and national newspapers and many other independent media content providers are dying on their feet. Perhaps mainstream newspapers should be able to get funding to help them with some of their investigative journalism in the public interest. In order to offset the high costs of investigative journalism, providers should be able to syndicate the results of their investigations into a variety of media channels, newsprint, youtube, terrestrial tv etc. without monopolistic hinderance from players such as the BBC getting in their way.

I don't want to get in the situation like the National Lottery, where a certain class of opera loving "worthy" takes control of the complete BBC licence fee budget; that would be wrong. I think if media producers meet a particular set of minimum qualifications then they should be able to apply for a large proportion of the old BBC licence fee cash on a "Kickstarter" style website, where the public vote on where the money goes...

Worth a try or trial, don't you think?

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James Arathoon
 25 January 2014 06:41 PM
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Zuiko

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didn't read your long post, just the thread title question.

A) No.


There are very few things the British can be truly proud of nowadays; few things we are can justly say we do better than the rest of the world. The BBC, for all its faults - and nothing is perfect - is one of them.
 25 January 2014 07:06 PM
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ectophile

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It sounds like a bureaucratic nightmare, with vast numbers of people bidding for bits of money. Who would decide which projects were most worthy? Who would carry out the quality control to ensure that the money was well spent?

Plus, I don't think it would be a good idea to give it a trial. If it doesn't work, then we will have to build a new BBC, because the old one will have been pretty much destroyed. The people at Sky would be rubbing their hands in glee.

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S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 25 January 2014 08:23 PM
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jarathoon

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The BBC would still be there, but much of its content would be commissioned in a different more democratic way. i.e via people pitching for funds on a "Kickstarter" style website.

Instead of commissioning editors deciding on what gets funded and broadcast, the public could get involved with experts only acting in an advisory role. The licence fee could be charged on a voluntary per person basis, rather than on a per household basis. The more you are willing to pay, above the minimum contribution of £30 per year say, the more individual influence you get on content. If you don't any say on the programme content no need to pay anything.

Lets say individual licence fee payers sign up on a particular website to have a say on programme commissioning, and they collectively have control of their collective membership/licence fees for this purpose.

Lets say 100,000 people vote to commission a particular television show, and it wins the funding contest. Once these people have got something they want, it will be fair if their influence on later decisions is less than for other people who have not made one of their choices count yet.

How would such an algorithm work with a varying numbers of licence fee payers signed up to the site?

All the expensive commissioning editors etc on megabucks salaries could be dumped, leaving more money for programming.

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James Arathoon
 25 January 2014 08:30 PM
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Zuiko

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Originally posted by: jarathoon

The BBC would still be there, but much of its content would be commissioned in a different more democratic way. i.e via people pitching for funds on a "Kickstarter" style website.



Instead of commissioning editors deciding on what gets funded and broadcast, the public could get involved with experts only acting in an advisory role. The licence fee could be charged on a voluntary per person basis, rather than on a per household basis. The more you are willing to pay, above the minimum contribution of £30 per year say, the more individual influence you get on content.



What a joke. Is this an early April Fools?

Say the BBC are making a new series of Sherlock; you pay £30 and I pay £60; and I get twice as much influence as you. But the programme costs millions so you get no influence and I get twice nothing.

How on earth are you going to stop rich people producing politically motivated and politically biased content? If you want that, hook up to Fox.


Leave the BBC alone. Its the best in the world.
 25 January 2014 08:57 PM
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jarathoon

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you could design the algorithm to correct the deficiencies as you see them.

A large subscription could give a big say on your first successful choice, but give much less of an extra say on subsequent choices (relative to those who paid much less) for example. Some of the extra money you paid could be used to cross subsidise other peoples choices.





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James Arathoon
 25 January 2014 09:51 PM
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ectophile

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It won't be just politically biased content. Once big business realised that they could buy programming, the BBC would turn into a huge advertorial, What happens when the sugar industry puts up £100 000 to fund a programme on diet? How about a drug company funding a programme on health?

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S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 25 January 2014 10:52 PM
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Zuiko

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ectophile: of course, you are correct.




Algorithms to work out who can decide on content?


This is a preposterous idea.


A better idea is to allow professional televsion programmers to make the decision....in fact just how the best television in the world is made.

The BBC has problems, but it is not broken, and it remains the best broadcaster in the world.
 28 January 2014 02:17 PM
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kengreen

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I never cease to wonder at the strange ideas people nurse reference the BBC ? Indeed the only knowledgeable and realistic opinion expressed above seems to be that expressed by Zuiko !

Although I held a reasonably senior Post in the Beeb's engineering Department I cannot carry a torch for them because I believe that, today, we are all betrayed by a youthful and largely ignorant self-adulating leadership.

I read nothing about the creation of the BBC and the setting of its remarkably high standards as a public-service organisation by Lord Reith - the original manager of the British Broadcasting Company which he led into becoming the BBC.

I cannot begin to think of where James derived his hysterical estimate of the Beeb's income? Just for starters the loot from broadcasting licences has always sufferred the same fate as the booty from road-vehicle llcences which has never been used for the upkeep of existing roads let alone building the new ones to spur the motor-building industry ?

And how many know of the Corporation's role in defence of the Realm for which we can be certain has never been born entirely by the Treasury. Just ask yourselves what form of lunacy prompted the BBC's recent sale of the family's crown jewels????

Ken Green
 28 January 2014 03:59 PM
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jarathoon

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Originally posted by: kengreen

I cannot begin to think of where James derived his hysterical estimate of the Beeb's income? Just for starters the loot from broadcasting licences has always sufferred the same fate as the booty from road-vehicle llcences which has never been used for the upkeep of existing roads let alone building the new ones to spur the motor-building industry ?



Sorry the link to the BBC budget 2012/2013 is here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/annualrep...nces/licence_fee.html

As to how much of the BBC budget is spent on actual content from programme producers down, and how much is spent on schedule editing and higher level functions, I don't know.

We have found ways of automating tasks to remove lower paid workers from the payrole. I am just wondering if the highest paid workers at the BBC can be removed by utilising the internet and the knowledge and enthusiam of crowds.


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James Arathoon
 28 January 2014 04:54 PM
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Zuiko

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Art should be made by artists.

Be careful of what you wish for!
 29 January 2014 10:32 AM
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kengreen

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When I first encountered the BBC its art was indeed created by artists. But ART goes a long way beyond wielding a brush ? Today its greatness has been has been smothered in an unskilled mass a.k.a. Freemasons.


Apart from which the establishments in which so many of its practical artistic genii trained have been disinherited by a demoniac combination of Politics and Television which combines making television and making money :nearly all pretence of art has been kicked out of the front door.

Ken Green
 29 January 2014 12:53 PM
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jarathoon

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Originally posted by: Zuiko

Art should be made by artists.

Be careful of what you wish for!



Art would still be made by artists under the system proposed above. I am talking about revolutionising the commissioning process not the artistic process. Artists would be encouraged to make whatever proposals they want, within the bounds of taste and decency that apply to a particular genre and audience profile.


Art has traditionally been commissioned by a rich and powerful ruling elite. This is starting to change with internet crowd funding of art and artists. Can't ordinary people have some future role in the commissioning process at the BBC and elsewhere? It is they who provide the existing funding. Could this be a way of helping prevent a swath of top down media organisations from going to the wall?


A different kind of bad media content created that no one wants to watch, read or listen to, I agree. The positive hopefully would be that different kinds of good popular media content is made as a result. I doubt whether anyone could predict in advance what might happen. We would have to try it and see.


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James Arathoon
 29 January 2014 12:57 PM
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ectophile

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Originally posted by: jarathoon
I doubt whether anyone could predict in advance what might happen. We would have to try it and see.


From my point-of-view, that sounds like a very good reason not to try it.

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S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 29 January 2014 05:16 PM
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Zuiko

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Thankfully, this is such an absurd idea, it will never happen.
 10 February 2014 10:24 AM
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awhittak

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I'm semi-retired in Thailand from where I enjoy BBC radio 4 over the internet and any good BBC TV programming via iPlayer VPN sessions or Torrent downloads. Does anyone know of any way to pay for a virtual BBC TV license? I don't enjoy being a free loader and having seen TV around the world I would hate to lose the BBC.
Colin Whittaker
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