What is the obsession with stopping the BBC doing its job as a public service

The competition commission is concerned that the BBC's "on demand" video service to be launched later this year is having a "negative impact on the private sector". Read about it HERE.

I do get fed up with the competition experts telling me that I cannot have a service that might be free because a company in the private sector might want to charge me for it ?

Oh, fantastic, just what I want, to be charged for something that I could have at no extra cost.

When will the competition commission actually start looking out for the consumer and not the companies. The BBC was attacked for having a wonderful website last month (again, free from ads and free to access anywhere in the world. Why was it attacked? Because it was again preventing someone from making a small fortune by charging for the same service.

Its a crazy world we live in where the needs of big business come before the needs of the consumer.

Of course the real aim of all those who question the BBC's role in any new sector is to try and make the BBC irrelevant. By stopping the BBC website being so good, by trying to halt BBC on demand, by stifling the BBC's expansion in to new digital technology and by preventing the BBC from having the sort of programs that attract views, those who hate the BBC because it is a bulwark against the biased and politically motivated press can argue that the BBC has no remit.
The fact is that the BBC has to do all these new things to stop itself being written off. The Murdoch/Daily Mail/Desmond owned media hate and loathe the fact that their versions of the news cannot be justified whilst the BBC exists.

Almost hilariously today, the editor of the Daily Mail criticised the BBC for it's political coverage. I mean, this is from the Daily Mail. A newspaper that prints Tory press releases almost unedited. A newspaper that lectures people on who to hate next and why to be scared. A newspaper that as I recall, never printed the result of the Romsey parliamentary by-election because the Lib Dems beat the Tories. Of course, famously the Daily Mail is also the only British newspaper that was pro Nazi too. Taking lessons from the Daily Mail in reporting politics is like taking baby care lessons from King Herod.

So lets stop criticising the BBC and accept that it is the standard bearer for TV in this country and the world. Yes, I may criticise it, but in that way it is like my mother. I might get annoyed by it once in a while, but I wouldn't want to be without it.
P.S. Dominic Tristram (PoliticalDom) has an excellent post about the Mial on his blog today too. Read it HERE.


Tom Papworth said...

Come on, Nich!

“A service that might be free”! I hardly see how paying £150/year is free. In fact, when one isn’t even given the choice, it’s damned expensive.

It is not “the needs of big business [that is] com[ing] before the needs of the consumer.” It’s the needs of a public sector corporation that alone can finance its service through taxation. The rest of the broadcasting world has to earn its keep and as such has to meet the needs and desires of customers.

Plenty of people don’t use the BBC’s “so good” website or listen to its radio broadcasts, but they still pay. This is larely a subsidy paid by younger and more working class taxpayers to the BBC’s older and more middle class audience.

As for describing the BBC as a “bulwark against the biased and politically motivated press”, are you really suggesting that the BBC is not as guilty of partiality as any other broadcaster? I think that is a little na├»ve.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Adn you think for one moment that a paid for service would be cheaper than £150 a year ? I pay £50 per month to sky.

We shouldn't fall in to the trap of the extremists on the far left and right who hate the BBC because it provides a voice of reason, it is accountable and set basic minimum standards.

If you think the private scotr is so good, look at my posting last week about "original ideas needed at ITV". All their shows that copy BBC formats are sorry excuses, poorly executed and show just how much value we get from the BBC.

Tristan said...

The Competition Commission is looking after the interests of consumers but not by telling consumers what is good for them, but by ensuring there is competition so consumers can choose.

The BBC's news website is not that great, some of the reporting is really shoddy, even just copy and paste from a press release sometimes.
The political coverage is biased, not in party terms necessarily but in ideology - there's very much a 'wet' liberal leftist consensus, combined with an unhealthy attachment to received wisdom.

Also, it is incredibly unhealthy to have a major broadcaster dependent upon the government in such a way as the BBC, look what happened when it upset Blair.

That's not to say there isn't some excellent reporting and programming at times, but the quality is variable.

Digital TV allows us to have an even wider variety of TV, and in the next 20 years I'm sure we'll see more Internet based TV (both free and paid for), in that climate, I think the BBC will no longer be able to justify its position.