My views on the BBC license fee are very strong, but before I start ranting, let’s just review what the license fee is here to do. Basically every UK resident that owns a TV has to pay the TV license fee, this goes in part to pay for the monitoring, control and fraud detection associated with the licensing, and the rest goes to the BBC directly.
So if you have a TV, you pay a license, which pays the BBC and no other channel.
This is where my rant begins, you see I don’t understand or accept that model. Imagine the Goverment forcing you to subscribe to Sky because you have a TV? Or imagine the Goverment forcing you to pay a fee to my local shop because you can shop there, it doesn’t matter if you do or not, the choice is there and you might.
It’s a crazy scenario to start with, but the latest story from the BBC just has me even more infuriated.
The initial story from the BBC itself.
BBC director general Mark Thompson said the rise would fund the switch-over to digital TV and BBC on-demand services. The BBC says it needs an extra £5.5bn over the next seven years to pay for more original programmes, new digital and local services and increased costs…
…”We know that licence fee payers find the licence fee a burden in their household costs,” Mr Thompson said. “But on the other hand, we also know that they are overwhelmingly in favour of the BBC spearheading these new digital services.The BBC Plans
So we’re going to be paying for the BBC to switch off all the analogue broadcasts (how you normally receive a TV signal on your TV) and for them to provide us with a digital signal. This, of course, means that we also have to find the money to buy some form of receiving a digital broadcast too.
We’re also going to be paying for new content, and that’s a big joke. Are we expected to believe that the BBC’s lack of decent programming over the last few years, albeit a very few programs, is down to not receiving this money? Hardly, the BBC have produced many good programmes in the past and without this extra over-inflation money.
Nowadays we’re given to Eastenders, repeats, and some of the dullest shows I’ve seen in my life, Johnathon Ross is perhaps the only saving light on this channel. Instead the BBC are pushing their new shows onto their other digital channels and leaving their main analogue channels a wasteland fighting against the growing popularity and quality of the other channels.
There is a poll tax on their TVs and they have got to pay it.Nigel Evans MP, culture select committee member
It’s crazy, and from that story the MP Nigel Evans hit back with a very excellent comment there, it is a poll tax on owning a TV.
What about the other side though, the fact that none of the other channels offered in either analogue or digital are receiving any of this income? Yes it’s a tax on owning a TV, but all the funds are for the BBC only, not ITV, Channel 4, Five, or any of the digital services. They have to rely on their own methods of raising funds.
The arguement, I would guess, is that I could watch the BBC, listen to their radio channels, or visit their Internet site and that’s why I should pay. Personally I feel that if I’m sitting with my TV connected to my games consoles and home cinema system without connecting it to a an aerial I should not have to pay. Tough, I do. I still have to pay the BBC to make their programmes whether I watch them or not.
Even the TV we currently have connected to the aerial is never really on BBC, what do we watch? Well my girlfriend watches some soaps now and again all on ITV and Channel 4. Together we watch US shows which are all on Channel 4 and Five.
Sure I visit the website for some movie news now and again, but to be totally fair the BBC are always carrying the movie news much later than everyone else. In the times I’ve used it as a source it’s been because I’ve seen it there at the time, or that I’ve wanted to use the BBC reference rather than a smaller site to prove some point, just like here.
So here we are facing an exceptional hike in the payment for the BBC service which we may not even use, and when they use that money to decomission the analogue television system, we’ll have to pay more money to get the digital service. Brilliant, wonderful service.
Then there’s an interesting point my Father brought to me. Behind the policing of the licence fee is a huge organisation with computer systems, monitoring, detection, staff, Inspectors, mobile units and some extremely expensive television advertising. How does that get paid for? Well, with the licence fee we’re paying for.
All in all, and in this day and age, I can’t believe we’re being forced to pay for a service we may not use, a service we may not need, and against the whole idea of competativeness in modern business we are funding the Government to pay for a company to survive against all the others in its marketplace.
Again, would you accept an enforced tax from the Government to pay for my local shop, despite living at the other end of the country? It’s time that the BBC goes it alone, this tax is removed, and the viewer empowered with the ability of choice. Let the BBC enter the competative market, between its programmes there are adverts galore already.
I am not in favour of the BBC spearheading the digital revolution at the additional cost of the TV owners, nor do I believe that the BBC should be paid for by the TV owners.