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Television PolicyThe MacTaggart Lectures$
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Bob Franklin

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748617173

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617173.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 31 May 2020

A Glorious Future: Quality Broadcasting in the Digital Age

A Glorious Future: Quality Broadcasting in the Digital Age

The James MacTaggart Lecture 1996

(p.191) A Glorious Future: Quality Broadcasting in the Digital Age
Television Policy

John Birt

Edinburgh University Press

In this lecture, the author, former director general of the BBC, outlines his vision for the BBC in the digital age. He begins by listing the BBC's major achievements and concludes with a plea for an increase in the licence fee. He argues that the BBC's role has been to ‘delight, educate and inform’ and, by so doing, to act as ‘the touchstone of quality in British broadcasting’. He summarises the BBC's considerable achievements but cites the dangers confronting the BBC which must be overcome by government and regulators. First, the digital age will be dominated by the key players who own and control the vital gateway into the home (the ‘set-top box’) which carries not only television signals but also potentially unlimited economic and financial exchanges. The struggle to control this gateway will constitute ‘one of the great business battles shaping the twenty-first century’. Second, the ready access to a global system of television programming will encourage a decline in programme standards and an Americanised world culture.

Keywords:   BBC, broadcasting, digital age, licence fee, set-top box, television programming

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