Ooh, the staff isn't going to like this:
- A report commissioned by Britain's opposition Conservative Party calls for the British Broadcasting Corp. to be broken up and gradually weaned away from dependence on license fees paid by television viewers.
The BBC's charter expires at the end of 2006, and the British government plans to publish its proposals for renewing the charter later this year.
The report, which was released Tuesday, suggested that after 2010, when Britain switches to exclusively digital TV transmission, the BBC should be funded by subscription fees and perhaps advertising.
Public funding should be limited to supporting BBC radio, certain public service programming and the BBC channel which carries Parliamentary proceedings, said the report of the Broadcasting Policy Group.
The group's chairman, David Elstein, has a background in private television companies, including ITV, Thames Television, the BSkyB satellite broadcaster and Channel 5, Britain's newest terrestrial channel.
Julie Kirkbride, the Conservative Party spokeswoman on cultural issues, stopped short of embracing the proposals.
"It is extremely well-thought through and it does require some time to digest," she said.
....The BBC got 94 percent of its income last year from a license fee of 116 pounds ($217) per year paid by every home with a TV set. Private competitors have long protested the BBC's support from the license fee.
Successive British governments have accused the BBC of hostile coverage. The corporation has also been lambasted both for producing lowbrow shows which draw big audiences and high-minded programs which don't. [AP]
I don't pretend to know what the answer is or should be, but I do find it hilarious when those who work for, or worship, the BBC wax apoplectic at criticism of their methods or structure, and especially any suggestion that they be accountable to anyone other than themselves.
I cannot help but see them as an insular gaggle of exceptionalist teat-suckers, but I mean that in a nice way.