BBC Licence Fee

  flycatcher1 19:05 23 Oct 2012

Some years ago I took part in "Any Questions". I asked if the BBC Licence Fee was past its sell-by date? Gerald Kaufman was on the Team and I well knew his antipathy to the Licence Fee.

His arguments did not convince me and, in the past, I always trusted the good old BBC. During World Wide travels the BBC World Service always provide a reliable update of world events with little UK slant.

As the years have passed I have come to look upon the BBC less favourably, exorbitanttant salaries, expenses and perks together with variable programming has made me think that it is time for a change.

If a cost reduced BBC was paid for by general taxation the poorer people would save money and the expense added to the richer people, even the Oldies like me.

  john bunyan 22:11 24 Oct 2012

I think BBC is good value for money. Having "endured" TV in countries that have advertising supported TV such as Australia and USA in my view there is no comparison. I cannot stand 4 1/2 minutes or so every 1/4 hour of ads, such that when I watch ITV I try to use "catch up" on a DVD recorder, using fast forward to jump the ads.As ,I believe , over 95% of households have TV and presumably pay the licence, it would cost the same on average if the BBC were paid by the government collected by increased taxation. The question is Do enough people want advertising absent TV to fund it in a version of the present system? On average I think BBC TV has better programmes than its rivals, but no doubt it could be slimmed as oresome says.

  flycatcher1 22:37 24 Oct 2012

FE If the TV Licence was abolished the cost of collection and enforcement would disappear. My point about paying for the BBC on General Taxation would mean that the cost is spread amongst the Tax Paying population including people, like me, over the age of 74.

  Forum Editor 23:11 24 Oct 2012


74,000 hours does sound impressive, but is actually only just over 100 hours each. If we consider 6 hours of peak viewing time each night, for 365 days, that totals 2100 hours, so the 100 hours of quality viewing, is just 5% of output, not so impressive.

Ermmm... you might want to think about what you've said.

690 customers means 690 TV broadcasters, each of them transmitting to tens of millions of people. You don't simply divide 74,000 by 690 and say that each of them took 100 hours. Some of them took much more than that, and some less. We're talking about drama series, David Attenborough series, comedy series, and lots of documentary series. it's not the number of hours per country that matters, it's the value of the sales, and overseas sales are to commercial TV channels. Those companies increase their revenues by attracting more prestige advertising, and they get that by screening top-quality content. The BBC is renowned for quality, which is why it does so well in those markets.

Last year was a record year for the BBC in terms of overseas sales, and that's hardly likely to be the case if the quality of the output had declined. BBC programmes are in worldwide demand, due entirely to the fact that the quality is high.

It's fair to say that sales of ITV programmes is pretty good as well, but there's a problem for them, in that lots of their output isn't made in-house, so ITV doesn't get the all the money. Big hit series like Downton Abbey are veritable gold mines - Downton has been sold to over 200 other broadcasters - but it is made by a company called Carnival films, and that company benefits from the international sales and DVD market sales - ITV only gets the advertising revenues which flow from the transmission slots.

For the week ending 14th October BBC1 and BBC2 attracted 26.3% of the total viewing audience. ITV, ITV+1, and ITV HD between them had 17.5%, Channel 4 and 4+1 managed 6.5% and Channel 5 and 5+1 got 4.5%. Other viewing accounted for the rest. Quality output gets big audiences.

  bluesbrother 00:42 25 Oct 2012

I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the fact that the BBC already has subscription only channels and free to view advert driven channels in the form of UKTV. a company co-owned by BBC Worldwide and Virgin Media

BBC Worldwide Annual Review 2011/12 makes interesting reading, you can download the pdf from

BBC Worldwide Annual Review 2011/12

£215.7m returned to the BBC last year plus all those licence fees.

Not short of a bob or two are they?

  morddwyd 07:42 25 Oct 2012

"I don't really have the time for another of your wriggling sessions, so I'll leave you with it."

While I perhaps often fail to make myself clear, it is not a matter of "wriggling"'

Others often have straight disagreements with me, but not many seem to pick up on niggling little points of pedantry in as many of my posts as you seem to.

I don't have a problem with this, as I said , it is my own fault for not making myself more clearly understood in the first place, but I don't wriggle. I have never been afraid to admit I was wrong, and to apologise when appropriate, as I do here for lack of clarity, or to change my views when convinced by argument.

  oresome 10:16 25 Oct 2012

Now that the BBC is on Freeview, it should be fairly simple to implement a subscription service, lots of channels do it.

I agree that in principle TV broadcasts can easily be encrypted, but there must be millions of receivers in use that don't have a card slot.

It would be another excercise akin to the digital switchover and unacceptable to the general public so soon after that event if it meant shelling out more money.

  Forum Editor 10:52 25 Oct 2012


"not many seem to pick up on niggling little points of pedantry"

I think you'll find that I pick up on points of fact. As for pedantry, a single wrong word can alter the entire meaning of a sentence, and in a written debating situation all other people have to go on are the words you write.

Everyone makes mistakes, there's no shame in it, but what is irritating is when someone is challenged on a fact and they try to pretend that they didn't say what is there for all to see. A simple admission of error is far better, and soon forgotten.

  LanceAlot 12:27 25 Oct 2012

I'm all for a license fee as long as it keeps those irritating adverts away from at least four channels.

Now Patten is in charge things should improve as to how financial waste is managed. He's taken a pay cut from the bloated salary his predecessor used to enjoy and hopefully he'll kick out a lot of grey suits on inflated pay checks too.

Unfortunately for him he's got to try and sort out the huge Saville mess and try and reinstigate the trust most held in 'Aunty'. It could take a long time and if lots of heads will roll as the investigations unfold we may well see the BBC change beyond recognition. That would be a great shame.

  Forum Editor 12:50 25 Oct 2012

"Now Patten is in charge things should improve as to how financial waste is managed. He's taken a pay cut from the bloated salary his predecessor used to enjoy and hopefully he'll kick out a lot of grey suits on inflated pay checks too."

I believe that Chris Patten is part of the problem, rather than being the solution - as is George Entwhistle, the ineffective, bumbling 'suit' who Chris Patten hailed as a man with the 'clear vision' the BBC needed for the future.

Both men should stand down and make way for people who know the business, and have the qualities of leadership both jobs demand.

Chris Patten is a nice, decent, cultured individual with a considerable experience of political leadership. I know people who knew him personally when he was Governor of Hong Kong, and they say he was superb in the role.

Unfortunately he doesn't have a clue when it comes to broadcasting, and he shows signs of being overwhelmed by the elitist culture at the top of the BBC - he seems to spend his time being an apologist for BBC shortcomings. he should do the decent thing at the earliest opportunity, preferably joined by George Entwhistle, whose pathetic performance in front of the Commons culture select committee confirmed that he isn't fit for purpose.

  Bing.alau 13:28 25 Oct 2012

What is going to happen if it is discovered that other influential presenters were playing the same games as Jimmy Saville? It would knock dear old "Aunty" for six I suppose.

I no longer pay toward the licence fee, but I feel that when I was paying it a big lump of it went toward keeping Mr Saville in a life of luxury. I am not happy about that and if there are more slugs and weevils under the roof of Broadcasting House I am going to feel even more angry.

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