On Thu, 19 Apr 2001, you wrote:
> Neil Ford <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:
> 
> > Don't be suprised if by then the abolishment of the licence fee hasn't been
> > announced and that the BBC hasn't announced subscription charges for it's
> > services. Better that than the Beeb starts carrying ads.
> 
> Politically the BBC has been lucky with its licence fee.  There was
> some discussion about abolishing it in the early 1980s under Thatcher
> but its been off the political agenda since then.  The election of
> Labour must have been a relief for them.

umm ... thats not quite true. The BBC has had quite a hard time of it
over the last  few years. In order to have its charter renewed in 199X it
had to undergo a series of reforms that basically tore the guts out of
it.  The sale of it transmision facilities and the moving of all its
'hardware' to BBC Resources Ltd are all as a result of that process. Over
the last 10 years its been a constant battle to try and maintain the
service. Every licence fee review (and they happen more often than
you might think) seems to involve more reforms being demanded from
government in order to approve this years fees.  

The licence fee has been subject to modest rises basically either in line
or slightly behind inflation. In an arena where the cost of broadcasting
is actually increasing at a rate somewhat above inflation this leaves an
ever increasing gap in the finances. This, coupled with a legal
requirement to have 25% of its programmes produced by external companies
(who typically cost 20% more than producing the same programme in house)
place further stresses on the budgets, leaving little money for in house
productions.

I think it likely that the licence fee will go. It would be a popular
move with the Great Unwashed. ( who seem happy to spend 400 quid a year
on a Sky subscription ), so I can see the BBC being released from its
licence fee. This would have huge knock-ons in the commercial TV world.
The advertising cake is only so big, if the BBC suddenly started taking
adverts then I doubt many of the commercial stations would appreciate the
50% drop in revenue. Assuming the BBC could decure 50% of the current TV
advertising cake they would be significantly better off than they are
now. 

Personally I would rather pay a licence fee and have a (largely)
independent public service broadcaster than yet another commercial
station that can't say various things in case it upsets a major
advertiser. YMMV

Several areas of the BBC have been split off into 'wholly owned, self
financing subsidiaries' that can compete against other players in the
market. this is not hugely popular with other players in the market, but
you can expect to see it start to flex its muscles a little more over the
next few years.

-- 
Robin Szemeti

The box said "requires windows 95 or better"
So I installed Linux!

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