Entire Argle Bargle From The BBC Chairman

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Yes, obviously, the bloke seated on the sharp pinnacle of a massive bureaucracy is going to thrash around and try any argument at all to preserve that position and that bureaucracy.

This doesn’t excuse this argle bargle from the BBC Chairman:

He argued that a move to a subscription model would mean a loss of earnings for the BBC that would lead to popular programmes being axed and that the introduction of Netflix-style payments could result in the loss of public service programming in a race to attract paying viewers.

Will you look at that? Without the licence fee we’d stop making Strictly Come Dancing ‘coz we’d have no money, so we’d have to make Strictly Come Dancing in order to make money.

Assuming it is the Beeb that makes Strictly of course but the argument stands even if it’s some other ratings hog that does.

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Phoenix44
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Phoenix44

It’s an interesting understanding of the business model – if we had to attract people to pay for our products, we would obviously not make the most popular stuff that people want to buy…

John B
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John B

I hope you have trade marked ‘Argle Bargle’.

Peter
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Peter

There is enjoyment to be had in the reasons given for continuing the licence fee; that regressive flat tax on the poorest in our society, and that benefits the richer. I suppose the BBC DG cant say “We need criminal prosecutions to force single-parent families to pay us £150p.a. for a service they dont want – or otherwise we cant afford our children’s private school fees”.

But that’s the real argument, of course.

Andrew Carey
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Andrew Carey

The voluntary subscription model sounds appealing. Seems to work for wikipedia which doesn’t take adverts. I’ve heard plenty of people saying “It’s worth it just for the cricket” or for Radio 4, or for Attenborough or whatever. So these people can pay double or treble, whatever they think it’s worth. Other members of the same household can chip in what they think. Even make it a charity like churches, or the IEA so you can gift aid it. Sure, it wouldn’t be a real charity in the biblical sense but neither is Oxfam. Just need to sort out that voluntary… Read more »

Bloke on M4
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Bloke on M4

He’s right, because overall, revenue is going to fall, and even say, switching from making Jonathon Meades documentaries to making more Strictly Come Dancing isn’t going to change that. The best popular BBC stuff isn’t high value. Take Strictly Come Dancing. It’s not on subscription channels elsewhere. It’s cheap TV supported by advertising. People looking to get an HBO or Canal+ subscription won’t decide to spend $15/month to get stuff like this. It’s one of the problems when people compare the BBC with Netflix. “look at all these channels you get”. Yeah, but the BBC is nearly all low to… Read more »

Spike
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Spike

“Revenue is going to fall” as it is falling throughout the media, as an increasing number of people are willing to provide content for low and no cost, including gig-writer Worstall and us commentators responding to him. This week in America, the sprawling McClatchy chain of newspapers went bust. The market is telling us that preferences are changing. The BBC should be immune from these signals, why?

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Michael Portillo on QT last night demolished the argument for the licence fee (even though the majority of his income comes from the BBC) by pointing out that none of the young people who make his travelogues actually own a TV set.