MoneySaving Poll: Should the BBC be downscaled?

edited 21 July 2015 at 2:58PM in Money Saving Polls
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Former_MSE_Sam_MFormer_MSE_Sam_M Former MSE
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MSE Staff
edited 21 July 2015 at 2:58PM in Money Saving Polls
Poll started 21 July 2015

Should the BBC be downscaled?

The Government has launched a consultation on the future of the BBC ahead of its 2016 Royal Charter renewal. Its main focus is, controversially, on downscaling the BBC. So we wanted to test attitudes on this, with some deliberately stark options.

How it works today: You need a TV licence to watch any TV channel (not just BBC), unless you only watch catch-up (see our Do I need a TV licence? guide) – but the TV licence primarily funds BBC TV, national & local radio and BBC online. Overseas services can be funded by commercial profits.

Should the BBC be downscaled? Please choose the option NEAREST to your opinion.


Did you vote? Are you surprised at the results so far? Have your say below. To see the results from last time, click here.

If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply. If you aren’t sure how it all works, read our New to Forum? Intro Guide.

Thanks! :)


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  • edited 21 July 2015 at 5:41PM
    thompsonmonthompsonmon Forumite
    3 Posts
    edited 21 July 2015 at 5:41PM
    Was rather hoping for a "middle" way, where the Licence fee remained the same, but they had some of their excesses curtailed. I really don't think that the BBC should be paying for "huge stars", they're just human beings, would rather see them nurturing talent as part of their public service remit... I also get the impression frequently the number of BBC reporters covering a story almost outweighs the people in the story, one for every radio station, and AT LEAST two or three for TV too! Although their coverage of the Tour de France remains dreadful...
  • lazerlazer Forumite
    3.4K Posts
    Keep BBC1 ad's and subscription free to cover news, weather as well as some high quality drama & documentaries, nationally important sport and other events coverge
    BBC 2,3,3, Parliament, CBeebies, BBC Alba, and whatever other BBC stations exist should have ad's.
    Radio - again one national station ad free and the remainder funded by ad's

    Website - keep it ad free and funded by licence fee

    So reduce the licence fee down to peanuts, and to fund the broadcasting network mast etc, put a tax on paid subscriptions as people that pay subscriptions are obviously the ones that use it the most.
    Weight loss challenge, lose 15lb in 6 weeks before Christmas.
  • patannepatanne Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    I would definitely not like to see adverts on BBC. The whole point of them is that they are not subject to anyone's patronage. They can tell the truth about some of the bigger companies without them threatening to withdrawn large quantities of advertising money.

    If they were actually as biased as the political parties say then they wouldn't ALL complain about their bias. They would like to muzzle the BBC so they can do what they like and no-one gets to criticise them or even tell us what they are up to.
  • The_Groat_CounterThe_Groat_Counter Forumite
    455 Posts
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    I'm not convinced the licence fee in its present incarnation is really up to the job, but I think funding it from general taxation would be dangerous in terms of the BBC's impartiality and independence.

    I don't think complicated models such as subscription are the way to go, so perhaps best to just collect the TV licence (perhaps renamed as a 'broadcast reception licence' or similar) as part of the council tax. Collecting a licence fee alongside local taxes is how it's done in a number of other European countries.

    As for an entirely advertising funded BBC... no thanks.
  • Sharon87Sharon87 Forumite
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    Keep it roughly the same as now. But I would include iPlayer, so to watch iPlayer you need to pay the licence fee. Why should people watch it for free just because it's not live? Other on demand services are filled with ads - sometimes more than when it's live. iPlayer is a too good of an asset for people to use without paying for it in someway.

    May be an unpopular view on here, but that's my view. I believe it's worth the money. I think now that's been frozen for so long they should increase it by a little bit so they don't need to cut their current services just to keep within budget.

    I half agree about the wages of the huge stars, but then it's hard to compete with the other channels, ITV will just say the celebrity 'look at this fat pay check we have, come to us'.

    General taxation could be an option, but I wouldn't want the government to have any control over any creative decisions. (and no they don't have any creative decisions at the moment, even if people think they might)
  • I think entering a licence number to access iPlayer is definitely something that should be done. Although difficult to see how it could be policed, as there could be any number of devices at one address, some of which may then go to an address without a licence! Whether that's work, a friend, a holiday home.....
  • Sharon87Sharon87 Forumite
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    I think entering a licence number to access iPlayer is definitely something that should be done. Although difficult to see how it could be policed, as there could be any number of devices at one address, some of which may then go to an address without a licence! Whether that's work, a friend, a holiday home.....

    There will always be a way round the system, I never bought a Nintendo 64 when I was younger, but I went round a friend's house to use it, or borrowed it. It's the same principle.

    This idea you will ideally need to have an address and TV licence number to enter into the iplayer app/webpage to access it, so will make it harder for people to watch it without paying for it. But there will always be the odd few who find ways to get around it, just like watching Netflix from other countries, it's accessible for those who know about it, but not everyone has the technological knowhow or desire to do it.
  • EctophileEctophile Forumite
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    I consider the licence fee to be the least worst option.

    If BBC is advertising funded, then they will be competing for money with the other TV stations - diluting the pot of money available. They would also have to keep the advertisers happy, which means lots of populist TV and no money for anything niche unless it's also really cheap.

    Paid subscription isn't really going to work, as it will instantly render millions of Freeview TVs and set-top boxes obsolete.

    The BBC does need to seriously look at how it pays it's presenters and managers. I hope by now they have also dropped the "me too" attitude they had in the past. Any time another TV or radio company came up with a new idea, the BBC had to copy it.

    What I really don't want is the BBC gradually being downsized to a public service broadcaster that just produces cheap, dull but worthy TV that nobody wants to watch. That's what Sky have been lobbying for over the years.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • Although I'm in the older age bracket, I think that everyone should pay, including over 75s, as paying £12.12 per month per household for all the BBC stuff is very good value for money. There could be a reduction, perhaps for single occupancy households in the same way that there is for Council Tax. I also think that anyone who uses the BBC in any way - radio, website etc - and not just live TV should also pay the licence fee.
  • I certainly think there are efficiencies to be made.

    I don't see why national news items often attract up to 4 different reporters: national and local TV and radio reporters. Nor do I see it as worthwhile filming a political news report from in front of No10 late at night. What cannot the reporter just say what they need to say from the studio?

    I realise the above will only generate relatively small savings, but you have to start somewhere.

    In the debate about how to fund the BBC, a subscription model is often touted. I don't think that the infrastructure is there to support subscription, at least not without substantial cost to many viewers / listeners.

    Subscription implies some sort of encryption / decryption to lock out those who have not paid. Current models use a set top box with an account number on a card. There must be millions of viewers without Sky, Virgin, BT or Freeview. Who is going to finance the development and roll out of BBC boxes?

    Will radio continue to be free, or will that be by subscription too? I am not aware of any stand alone encryption / decryption service for radios although it may be possible for digital internet broadcast radio without additional infrastructure. How many millions / billions of radios throughout the country will be made redundant? What about car radios?
This discussion has been closed.
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