Should the BBC be privatised?

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hexhome
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Re: Should the BBC be privatised?

Postby hexhome » 7 Mar 2016, 8:05am

I haven't read every post so forgive me if I am repeating. I am a TV Broadcast Engineer. The issue I have not seen raised is the terrestrial distribution network. It would be possible to finance this entirely privately but the money would come out of our pockets eventually.
Funding of TV by advertising is reducing, there is now increased competition for that money. All TV production has suffered funding reduction.
None of this is necessarily bad, but the landscape would be changed dramatically without the cost of competing with the BBC for viewers.
I believe that without an publicly funded BBC, the style and quality of program would change to a commercially led product.
Incidentally, I work in the independent sector.

Psamathe
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Re: Should the BBC be privatised?

Postby Psamathe » 7 Mar 2016, 10:24am

pwa wrote:...[BBC] Getting rid of it would be removing one of the things that make me feel good about the land I live in. Any party that brought that about would never get my vote again.

But we are not talking about "getting rid of it". Just that people who use it's broadcasts pay for it, people who don't use it don't pay for it. and if it is as good as everybody says they they will have loads of subscribers and will do really well. If it isn't then maybe it is not generally regarded as good enough to justify the compulsory subscription anyway.

Ian

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bovlomov
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Re: Should the BBC be privatised?

Postby bovlomov » 7 Mar 2016, 11:08am

Psamathe wrote:But we are not talking about "getting rid of it". Just that people who use it's broadcasts pay for it, people who don't use it don't pay for it.

I'm not clear how this would work. Would the land and brand be put up for auction, or would the BBC continue to be publicly owned?

Again, I'm not necessarily against these suggestions. My main fear, though, is that broadcasting will suffer a witless revolution and we'll end up worse off than we were before.

To add to the recent analogies on these pages... We may have rejoiced at the demise of the Soviet Union, but we hadn't realised that, while it was declining, murderous gangsters were positioning themselves to asset-strip the country. The new regime would become, in short time, as corrupt as the previous one.

Psamathe
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Re: Should the BBC be privatised?

Postby Psamathe » 7 Mar 2016, 11:22am

bovlomov wrote:
Psamathe wrote:But we are not talking about "getting rid of it". Just that people who use it's broadcasts pay for it, people who don't use it don't pay for it.

I'm not clear how this would work. Would the land and brand be put up for auction, or would the BBC continue to be publicly owned?

Again, I'm not necessarily against these suggestions. My main fear, though, is that broadcasting will suffer a witless revolution and we'll end up worse off than we were before.
....

I would think there are many ways to achieve it. And I'm sure many could come up with better ideas that I could. But, for example, retains it's current status, license fee is scraped, TV broadcasts go encrypted and viewers buy a subscription. If people don't already have boxes that can decrypt then they are not expensive (maybe BBC can provide them at cost or in the same way Sky provide a Sky box free to subscribers). Same sort of basis as other things we can subscribe to. No reason a government organisation cannot provide a subscription based service. There could be all sorts of variations and levels of subscription (e.g. add-ons like iPlayer catch-up). BBC could re-organise it's channels so films and premium content was on one more expensive channel so there would be lower cost subscriptions for e.g. news, local content, One Show, cooking, antiques, etc. whilst the big high profile expensive productions and films were on a higher subscription. Loads of options. If necessary/appropriate then maybe ads could be allowed (we get them anyway) or maybe only between programs. Who knows, but loads of options. And if it is as good as some say then they should have no difficulty getting most people with TVs to subscribe.

Ian

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bovlomov
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Re: Should the BBC be privatised?

Postby bovlomov » 7 Mar 2016, 11:30am

Psamathe wrote:I would think there are many ways to achieve it.

My question was prompted by some of the (not unreasonable) comments, that the state should have no role in providing news or entertainment.

There seem to be two separate arguments:
1. The state shouldn't be involved in broadcasting
2. The state has no right to charge people for simply owning a television - effectively forcing them to pay for services they may not want.

Your suggestions deal with the second point but not the first.

Psamathe
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Re: Should the BBC be privatised?

Postby Psamathe » 7 Mar 2016, 11:54am

bovlomov wrote:
Psamathe wrote:I would think there are many ways to achieve it.

My question was prompted by some of the (not unreasonable) comments, that the state should have no role in providing news or entertainment.

There seem to be two separate arguments:
1. The state shouldn't be involved in broadcasting
2. The state has no right to charge people for simply owning a television - effectively forcing them to pay for services they may not want.

Your suggestions deal with the second point but not the first.

In my opinion (and I am open to alternatives and changing that opinion) I can't see why the state should be involved in broadcasting, but don't see it as a major issue if it is. I do think the state should be involved in provision of basic utilities (water, electricity, etc.) but don't think broadcasting comes into that type of service.

But I can see aspects of what the BBC does being relevant to provision by "the state", though at arms length and outside political control. I think it reasonable that the state could pay for a basic radio information/news service. The only reason I could see that as useful is that it would provide a current affairs news service outside the control of a few mega wealthy moguls with very vested interests. I could even accept a single channel basic TV service providing the same (i.e. no celebrity salaries, no mega glitzy expensive Saturday night programs, etc.). Could even be a PBS type channel with a more formal 10/15 minute news on the hour. Very cheap (to the point where it would not be cost effective to collect subscriptions).

Ian

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Re: Should the BBC be privatised?

Postby Bicycler » 7 Mar 2016, 11:00pm

bovlomov wrote:There seem to be two separate arguments:
1. The state shouldn't be involved in broadcasting
2. The state has no right to charge people for simply owning a television - effectively forcing them to pay for services they may not want.

1. I'm reminded of Yes Minister: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H4E6Ja_cCM There's some truth in it. The stuff that the masses wish to watch could, of course, be provided commercially. The question then is whether the remainder that isn't commercially viable should cease to be produced. If we can understand why other cultural and educational organisations/activities (galleries, museums, libraries, opera, ballet, concerts, plays etc...) warrant government intervention then we should be able to see that a similar case can be made for some intervention in the broadcasting market.

2. If it can legitimately tax our income, legislate to restrict our freedom and dictate how we educate our children, then the ability to put a tax on TV use must surely be within its rights. The fuss about the BBC isn't a question of government power as such (much taxation is spent on things which the average citizen might not choose to pay for if they had the choice), but rather the way it is funded. It is viewed as a subscription service rather than government taxation and expenditure. If the BBC had always been paid from general taxation it wouldn't be anywhere near as controversial. Ring fencing a tax is a guaranteed way of fostering discontent.

hexhome
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Re: Should the BBC be privatised?

Postby hexhome » 10 Mar 2016, 7:54am

bovlomov wrote:
Psamathe wrote:I would think there are many ways to achieve it.

My question was prompted by some of the (not unreasonable) comments, that the state should have no role in providing news or entertainment.

There seem to be two separate arguments:
1. The state shouldn't be involved in broadcasting
2. The state has no right to charge people for simply owning a television - effectively forcing them to pay for services they may not want.

Your suggestions deal with the second point but not the first.

Just a couple of inputs to these points. The State and the BBC are separated by a Charter. This causes much annoyance to the Government of the day. Charging people for ownership of a TV. Well no, you can have as many as you like. You are charged for the receipt of a data stream. You have a choice, you could just buy a monitor without a receiver of that data stream and not pay a penny. I guess the same argument is used about cars and VED, should the charge be on the fuel?

beardy
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Re: Should the BBC be privatised?

Postby beardy » 10 Mar 2016, 8:56am

Charging people for ownership of a TV. Well no, you can have as many as you like. You are charged for the receipt of a data stream.


You can almost get away with distorting the truth to that extent but actually you cant.

If it was just the data stream, then those lucky rich people with two (or more) houses would not need a licence for every house, they would just have a personal/family licence. As it is you could carry your TV from house to house but not your licence.

Also charging for the receipt of a data stream implies that that we are talking about their data stream which they have had to transmit (and make content for), in practice you have to pay the BBC to receive streams supplied by their "competitors".

So "being charged for owning a TV" is much nearer to the reality of the truth than your mis-construction of the letter of the regulations is.

The car analogy would hold, if you only wanted cars on your own land and never to be driven on the road

pwa
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Re: Should the BBC be privatised?

Postby pwa » 10 Mar 2016, 10:11am

beardy wrote:
Charging people for ownership of a TV. Well no, you can have as many as you like. You are charged for the receipt of a data stream.


You can almost get away with distorting the truth to that extent but actually you cant.

If it was just the data stream, then those lucky rich people with two (or more) houses would not need a licence for every house, they would just have a personal/family licence. As it is you could carry your TV from house to house but not your licence.

Also charging for the receipt of a data stream implies that that we are talking about their data stream which they have had to transmit (and make content for), in practice you have to pay the BBC to receive streams supplied by their "competitors".

So "being charged for owning a TV" is much nearer to the reality of the truth than your mis-construction of the letter of the regulations is.

The car analogy would hold, if you only wanted cars on your own land and never to be driven on the road


My argument, which I hope is a simpler one, is that we are effectively charged for what the BBC does to maintain high standards across all the channels, including ITV and Sky. With no BBC the commercial channels would give a much poorer service. You can see that in other countries. You would get more ad breaks, longer ad breaks, and less money spent on programmes. If you watch TV at all you are benefiting from the BBC being there.