House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee inquiry into BBC future funding
Future funding models should ensure, and secure, a stable resource level for the BBC so as to enable it to maintain the range, diversity and quality of its various forms of output. The BBC is a highly valued element of UK public service and life. It would be seen as a very detrimental step, by a large proportion of the public, if its future funding model makes it difficult or impossible to secure the range, diversity and quality of its output.
Of course, there has to be realism in its funding levels but there also has to be a protection from extreme views that seek to undermine the BBC via its funding model. Fundamentally a general population wide funding system should form the foundation of its funding. Other sources can compliment or, further, support its underlying core funding.
Some people claim not to use the BBC and resist the licence fee. I find it difficult to believe that, throughout a year, people do not access any element of the BBC’s output. Equally, subscription based models, such as those used by Sky or Netflix for example, seem unsuited to the core, national public service broadcaster. Whilst such broadcasters offer good outputs they do not come anywhere near the range of provision we see from the BBC. Such models would be unsustainable for the services provided by, and expected from, the BBC.
Technological developments influencing funding
Clearly streaming developments create challenges to conventional funding. However, streaming is, in general, not a widespread pattern of access for older viewers. Their ability to access the BBC has to be protected by future funding models.
Affordability and value
The current license fee offers superb value for money given all that it allows access to.
It is very affordable for the vast majority of the population. Support systems need to be in place for those members of society who cannot afford the license fee, including the very senior elderly.
It is essential that a sustainable funding system remains in place. Whilst some changes may be unavoidable to reflect technological developments there needs to be a form of universal contribution to safeguard one of the most key public services in the country.