Feeds

Ofcom questions BBC licence fee for worthy TV

Launches review, annoys everyone

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Ofcom has launched its long awaited consultation into Public Service Broadcasting - with something to annoy everyone.

The regulator predicts a tough time for commercial broadcasters, which justifies the main policy proposal: forcing the state broadcaster to share its income with private sector rivals.

Even before publication, this was the most contentious part of the review: throwing public money after a disappearing audience. Ofcom notes that viewing for the five main TV channels has declined by 17 per cent since 2003.

In the same time period, spending on what it defines as "public service broadcasting" has fallen by a third (£130m), and Ofcom predicts it will have fallen by two thirds by 2012.

Several funding alternatives for private broadcasters are discussed - giving them the proceeds of spectrum auctions, new direct taxes, divvying up the license fee, imposing "industry levies", and/or allowing them to make more from advertising.

Broadcasters are already divided in how to respond. Some (eg, Channel 4) dearly want a slice of taxpayers license-payers' money. Others (eg, ITV) want the PSB obligations lifted altogether - so they can compete with BSkyB, which doesn't have any. Ofcom sees the crunch coming quickest, and hardest, for children's and regional programming.

Although Ofcom says one of the main justifications for the review is the desire to retain "plurality", it doesn't examine the option of giving grants to anyone but the existing gatekeepers.

The regulator also had a look at "public service" web content. If you're wondering what such a thing may be, wonder no more.

Ofcom asked consultancy MTM London to define it. MTM, in turn consulted "expert blogs" who provide "coverage of individual sectors and of the internet as a whole (TechCrunch, Mashable, Read/Write Web, etc.)", and they came up with the following examples:

  • News and Information: BoingBoing and RealClimate.
  • Commercial products: TED.
  • Communities: The Richard Dawkins Foundation.

There's plurality for you. ®

Related link

The Ofcom Public Service Broadcasting Review

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.