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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, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 16 May 2021

Freedom of Choice: Public-Service Broadcasting and the BBC

Freedom of Choice: Public-Service Broadcasting and the BBC

The James MacTaggart Lecture 2003

(p.255) Freedom of Choice: Public-Service Broadcasting and the BBC
Television Policy

Tony Ball

Edinburgh University Press

In this lecture, the author, former chief executive of BSkyB, cites a National Opinion Poll survey indicating that the BBC licence fee no longer represents good value for money. With BSkyB, at the time of writing, reaching seven million homes offering viewers an ‘explosion of choice’, the author argues that it is time to reassess the relationship between broadcasters and government, as well as the character of public service broadcasting. He underpins his argument by insisting that public funding offers no ‘sure-fire guarantee of quality’, and that publicly funded television must work harder than ever to justify its subsidy. The author calls for a limit to be imposed on television programmes which ‘clearly fall outside any reasonable remit for a publicly funded broadcaster’. He also proposes a system of ‘programme syndication’ in which commercial broadcasters would be given an opportunity annually to bid in a competitive auction for the programme rights to ‘half a dozen or so’ established BBC programmes.

Keywords:   BBC, subsidy, funding, programme syndication, commercial broadcasters, public service broadcasting, BSkyB, licence fee, television programmes

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