There’s been much gnashing of teeth about the freezing (note, not cutting) of the licence fee in BBC circles, it’ll be the end of the world, etc. etc. Quite, it isn’t as if the Guardian has the funds to pay for their dead tree and on-line coverage to be converted into radio and TV is it? If the budget is frozen and the costs of production go up, then how are they to feed us their propaganda so effectively? Propaganda that we are obliged to pay for if we watch broadcast TV whether we agree with it and want it or not.
How to rationalise that finance stream?
Simple, sell advertising. They’ve been doing it on their website for some time, access it from abroad and you’ll see.
Now they’re going to be selling advertising space in broadcast media*.
So, they take a service, which by dint of owning a television that acts a receiving device for signals I am obliged to fund and they then sell advertising on that network. Well, I have a problem with that.
A pretty big problem, actually.
You see the BBC reacts with horror at the thought of having to rely on anything so crass as advertising to fund itself, it seems to be of the opinion that having funding ripped from the public leads to content which is somehow morally and artistically superior to anything which is tainted by the hand of (gulp) commerce. Oh, no no no, that’ll never do. Have you seen Total Wipeout or The Queen’s Bodyguard? Don’t even get me started on Eastenders and the One Show.
I resent being forced to pay for a service that lectures and hectors me, that is entirely convinced of its moral superiority over me, that wastes money at an alarming rate employing a staff that would make a commercial operation bankrupt within a month. I resent the fact that the world view of that service is totally at odds to mine, that the service pretty much tells me that I am somehow undesirable, unhinged, evil. I resent their arrogance and their belief that their very existence is self-evident proof of their superiority over every other media outlet, not just nationally but globally. I resent the fact that their news coverage is biased to such an extent that Lord Reith is probably rotating at such a speed that if he was wired up to the national grid he could power a town the size of Ipswich. I resent the fact that their daytime TV coverage is nothing, and I mean nothing, but repeats of lowest common denominator home makeover and sales shows combined with programmes that show people hawking their tat through auction rooms. I resent the fact that their evening programmes are comprised of suicide inducing soap operas, cock-eyed documentaries/consumer advice shows and dreary dramas that are formulaic at best or ready for the knacker’s yard at worst. Occasionally, perhaps once a quarter, something of some value comes along. The cost to me per annum? £145.
Now, I don’t think they’re any worse than ITV or C4. I think Sky are marginally better and offer me a much better service for my subscription. Idiot Abroad? Their recent Treasure Island? The latter was especially good, and used to be the sort of thing that the BBC would do in their sleep. Now? Forget it. The big difference being is that I don’t fund ITV, and if I decide that I don’t want to pay for Sky’s TV package then I just have to make a phone call.
What I really, really resent is being forced to pay for their coverage and then discover that the fuckers go out and sell bloody advertising on it. This pisses me off immensely.
Wherefore your adamant declarations that the BBC with adverts just won’t work? Hmmmm? Now you want to have your cake and eat it. Well screw you. Once the first month is over, the Dept. of Culture, Media & Sport (Gawd help us) should turn up and say ‘See, it can work, so we’ll just drop the whole licence fee thing, shall we?’ Oh, if they did that the BBC staff would down tools and go out on strike, and you know what? Nobody would notice.
But… but…Eastenders! Doctor Who! Vital local radio! They’ll cry. Fine, then charge a subscription fee to access a coded channel, if your flagship shows are that popular people will pay to watch them. As for vital local radio, look at commercial local radio, which as far as I can make out is booming, but is not as narrowly defined on local grounds as once it was.
The whining will continue, local radio, I am told, will let people know which schools are closed because of snow. Really? Are we having a laugh? £110m a year for the few days when it snows? Do these schools or LEA’s not have t’internet? One of my friends is constantly bombarded with text messages from her child’s school reminding of this and promoting that.
No, I want the BBC to have every penny of public funding removed. However what I really want is for me to get a refund. You don’t take my money and then use it to sell advertising, you bastards.
There is one last point, it’ll be shown to not work. The BBC doesn’t want to sell advertising, it wants more of my money:
Figures released last July show the World Service lost 14 million listeners in 12 months.
Around 166 million people tuned in each week in 2010/11, down from 180 million in the previous year.
They’ve lost the population of Zambia in one year. I could probably make some suggestions as to why that is. You just watch, the World Service will continue to see its figures nosedive and the blame will be laid squarely at the feet of advertising.
*I appreciate this has been going over at BBC World (and that really is turgid) for some time now, but we don’t get BBC World on TV in the UK, however broadcasting the World Service with adverts means it will come with adverts in the UK.