I was thinking about upgrading our TV the other day from our perfectly adequate 12 year old plasma TV to a much more energy efficient LED Ultra 4k HD (and other buzzwords which I need to research further) when I started to consider our usage in the house and what we actually need. I then also thought about the BBC scrapping BBC3 and my thoughts veered towards the fact that the BBC licence fee is completely irrelevant in this modern era and should be ‘scrapped’
We only watch a fairly limited amount of television in the house these days, primarily it is tuned to Disney channel or if I throw a big enough tantrum, I get to watch the football. However, what generally happens is that I invariably ‘watch’ the football on my dual screen set up whilst working on my other screen. If the Tivo card is removed, the kids simply switch to YouTube and their devices to watch what they want – invariably though they watch YouTube whilst also having the TV on in the background.
So all in all, we actually watch very little BBC content and even the radio I listen to is usually non BBC stations. However, when I do tune into TMS or 6Music, quite often they have texts / emails etc from listeners who contact them from various locations across the world. Which also got me thinking as to why can they do that, probably not have to pay their license fee and subsidised by a compulsory tax on UK residents, except the over 75’s. Many of my friends live abroad these days and simply bypass the BBC’s geo restrictions via VPN and don’t pay the license but watch and listen to the content anyway.
With my commercial head on, I was wondering why on earth this system is still in place and that the BBC should change its role in broadcasting. The media industry is now global and local rather than by country. It has a magnificent brand across the world, why not sell the content globally as a content provider rather than the outdated UK only content provider.
As an example, Amazon has purchased Top Gear (not the brand, but the essential branded content) and is basing its business model for Amazon Video at a cost of £79 / year (yes I know it includes other things as well) on this content. The BBC has a huge bank of content it could put on demand to compete with Amazon, Netflix, Sky and everyone and still make the license fee optional with a large number of people taking it up not just in the UK but across the world. I’m sure it could then also bid for sports again and other events by scrapping the flat rate everyone has to pay into a tiered model, basically doing what Sky and BT are doing.
I’m amazed that the BBC isn’t pushing to do this (the fear of change i’m sure) and wanting to move from a 60 million customer base to a 6 billion customer base and delivering multiple content channels across traditional broadcasting and on-line mediums thus boosting its revenue from the current £5 billion or so (similar to Sky who have a lot less content).