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Article & Poll: Should we keep the BBC Licence Fee?

What do you think about the licence fee

  • The Licence Fee the most appropriate way for the BBC to be funded

    Votes: 100 19.1%
  • The BBC has to change its funding approach to remain relevant

    Votes: 122 23.3%
  • The BBC should become commercial and the licence fee scrapped

    Votes: 289 55.3%
  • Other, please answer in the thread below...

    Votes: 12 2.3%

  • Total voters
    523

Buckster666

Well-known Member
I haven't watched any BBC channel in several years, I only watch Netflix, Amazon Pime and Blu-ray's, I cancelled my TV licence and haven't looked back.
 

Tempest

Distinguished Member
Not sure what to say other than it seems VERY wrong that, you can be legally punished, and people went to prison for watching content NOT provided by the BBC, simply because if you wish to watch content from anyone live, even from another company who you have paid a subscription to, that you legally have to pay money to the BBC who you are not watching.

Can't see that being right in any context, and if someone came along today and proposed such a concept they would be looked upon as utterly crazy.
 

Over by there

Well-known Member
Voted other. But now think I should be "Change Funding Approach"
Personally I think we need a publicly funded broadcast mechanism. With IPTV happening then it needs another approach to collect funds etc. The landscape of content and delivery is changing rapidly at the moment
 

Toon Army

Well-known Member
The BBC still produce quality content ( at times ) and I listen to numerous BBC radio shows/podcasts. We hardly ever watch ITV and look at their funding model.
 

Barbs77

Distinguished Member
I think the BBC News coverage is good but the rest you should be able to opt in or out with different payment terms.
 

MrFraggle

Distinguished Member
I think the BBC News coverage is good but the rest you should be able to opt in or out with different payment terms.
not sure what news service you watch but their so called News Channel is appalling.
Very little actual news from around the world. In any one hour you will be lucky to get twenty minute of news, the rest of the hour being taken up with , This week in history, The Travel show, the weather, repeats of the headlines, being told what is coming up at least twice.

And this will be repeated throughout the night and most of the day, why on earth are they plugging a live broadcast during the afternoon. finally the BBC has given up any semblance of non-bias on practically every subject, made ever so clear when the BBC decided to ask members of the public what they thought of the BBC's Brexit coverage and overwhelmingly the answer was that the BBC re[porting had been predominately negative.
 

Jules

Well-known Member
The BBC has done great work with Sir David Attenborough's natural history programming like Planet Earth, but is otherwise utterly replaceable nowadays.

Its time to scrap the license fee now I think.
 

Barbs77

Distinguished Member
not sure what news service you watch but their so called News Channel is appalling.
Very little actual news from around the world. In any one hour you will be lucky to get twenty minute of news, the rest of the hour being taken up with , This week in history, The Travel show, the weather, repeats of the headlines, being told what is coming up at least twice.

And this will be repeated throughout the night and most of the day, why on earth are they plugging a live broadcast during the afternoon. finally the BBC has given up any semblance of non-bias on practically every subject, made ever so clear when the BBC decided to ask members of the public what they thought of the BBC's Brexit coverage and overwhelmingly the answer was that the BBC re[porting had been predominately negative.
Things will change when i retire properly but for now when i finish work i put the 6pm news on and then the local news and that is about it. Driving to and from work i am not in the car long enough to hear the news. Major events, usually bad i tend to see on here.
 

Pecker

Distinguished Member
First of all, thanks to Phil for a balanced and well-written article.

A few thoughts:

- As a general principle I would prefer it if we didn't have the licence fee sett up that we do, with people forced to pay for the BBC. However, the truth is it works. It's worked for years. And it produces some of the best TV in the world for a relatively small price.

- Look at how much Sky, Amazon and Netflix cost per month. And how much do people actually watch compared to terrestrial.

- As for commercial channels, please don't let anyone fool you into believing that you don't pay for it. Every time there's an advert on a TV channel, if you buy that product, you're paying for the TV content, whether you watch it or not. I very rarely watch ITV/C4/C5 (probably more C4 than the others, though SWMBO watches Corrie), yet I fund the lot.

- Cbeebies is worth the licence fee alone.

- People who say the BBC are biased appear equally spread across the political spectrum, suggesting they have it about right. I tend to find that those complaining will say the BBC is biased if it isn't a mouthpiece or their exact views.

- The licence fee is £0.41 a day. Let's compare that with newspapers. I'm not sure any UK papers are under £0.41. Even if you believe the BBC is biased, you must also accept that all are biased, on the BBC certainly no worse than any other. Now compare the BBC news programmes, radio programmes, 24 hour news channel and website. vs The Sun. Or the Daily Mail. It's not just a question of it being no contest, it would take someone out of touch with reality (or with a massive agenda) to even need to think about it. And that's JUST the news. Even if we didn't get all the TV channels and radio stations, it'd still be great VFM.
 

Marv

Member
The only thing i watch on tv is F1 and 99% of all my other viewing is eithe Netflix or blu rays. I like the option to not have to pay and not watch tv.
The whole notion of needing a "License" to legally watch tv seems very silly anyhow.
 

MrFraggle

Distinguished Member
Things will change when i retire properly but for now when i finish work i put the 6pm news on and then the local news and that is about it. Driving to and from work i am not in the car long enough to hear the news. Major events, usually bad i tend to see on here.
The 6pm news is also brief with the the presenters telling us the headlines twice within the bulletin, and again the BBC feels the need not only to tell us what is coming up but also what is coming up in our local news. Content is extremely thin on the ground.
 

John

Moderator
not sure what news service you watch but their so called News Channel is appalling.
Very little actual news from around the world. In any one hour you will be lucky to get twenty minute of news, the rest of the hour being taken up with , This week in history, The Travel show, the weather, repeats of the headlines, being told what is coming up at least twice.

And this will be repeated throughout the night and most of the day, why on earth are they plugging a live broadcast during the afternoon. finally the BBC has given up any semblance of non-bias on practically every subject, made ever so clear when the BBC decided to ask members of the public what they thought of the BBC's Brexit coverage and overwhelmingly the answer was that the BBC re[porting had been predominately negative.
Hate to break it to you, but there isn't actually a lot of 'news' that needs reporting. 24hr news channels do more harm than good imo
 

aVdub

Distinguished Member
I've been trying to convince the OH that due to that fact that we hardly ever watch the bbc and have been that way for many years that we should cancel the licence fee and enjoy more of Netflix, Amazon and what-ever other streaming services are available for us to choose.

The news is there sometimes as a background noise in the morning but there's been more than a few times we've both agree'd to turn it over to anything else due to their bias or poorly presented news.

I would be in favour of advertising being brought in to fund the bbc.
 

Over by there

Well-known Member
24 hour news channels were going to happen once one did it. Sky I think? I usually find they have a good mix but it is run by humans meaning mistakes are made and editorial judgments will bound to upset some whether it is right or wrong.

If people think BBC is biased (and I think it leans to the left and remain) then watch CH4 news. Snow and co. have a collective wet pants moment every time the tories fluff it up. Perhaps Foxneeds to come to the UK to counter CH4 if they wanted to balance out the UK news? Always RT and Press TV for the rest?

I take the view that if the left and the right are both harping on about the Beeb being biased then they are not far wrong.
 
D

Deleted member 92943

Guest
I cancelled my TV license over 3 years ago now and never heard a word from them. They send me a letter every 2 years to check whether I still don't need a license, to which I don't.

It's a seriously out of date way for the BBC to operate. Millennials are probabaly opting out of their content to save the £145 or so a year as they're more likely to watch Netflix and Youtube
 

NicolasB

Well-known Member
Many people's perception of the licence fee is wrong. The BBC is a public service, not a commercial organisation, and the licence fee is not a payment for a product, it's a form of taxation. Suggesting that you shouldn't pay the licence fee because you don't watch the BBC enough is like saying you shouldn't have to pay tax to support the NHS if you usually aren't ill, or that you shouldn't pay tax to support the Fire Brigade because your house never catches fire. It may well be the case that you don't watch the BBC and don't get ill very often, but other people do both of those things, and it is still quite right that your tax money should support all of those public services for them, regardless of whether you have any need for them at the moment or not. That's just how tax and public services work.

The BBC's funding model probably does need to change, for the simple reason that TV viewing methods are changing - increasingly, more and more content is distributed on demand via the Internet rather than broadcast - but instead of abolishing the licence fee, it should be replaced by a form of direct taxation.

As for BritBox, think of that simply as a substitute for DVDs - instead of paying £6 to acquire a classic "Doctor Who" serial on disk, pay £5 a month to watch as many episodes as you like whenever you want. If enough of the BBC and ITV archive is made available in sufficiently good quality, that's not a bad deal - and no one's forcing you to pay for it, just as no one forces you to buy DVDs.
 
D

Deleted member 92943

Guest
Watching TV isn't anywhere as essential as the HNS hence why people don't begrudge paying for that.

And what I find funny is that over 75s get it for free when they are the biggest watchers and moaners about the rubbish on TV these days
 

MrFraggle

Distinguished Member
Watching TV isn't anywhere as essential as the HNS hence why people don't begrudge paying for that.

And what I find funny is that over 75s get it for free when they are the biggest watchers and moaners about the rubbish on TV these days
Can you show the evidence that this age group are the biggest moaners please.

As for being amused that the over 75's get it for free and are the biggest watchers, you really need to keep up as the BBC are stopping the free licence or at least want to and I would suggest that for the over 75's the TV is there only link to the outside world.
 

BT Bob

Well-known Member
I'd pay double if they'd scrap Eastenders.
 

Base13

Active Member
A licence fee for the BBC has only one valid reason for existing: It creates content of value to the nation that wouldn’t otherwise exist.

The BBC news is more trustworthy than any other sources, so I see value there.

But on the flipside, my belief in the licence fee was reduced long ago when Eastenders was launched. This was set up to compete directly with similar existing offerings from commercial operations, therefore making it harder for others to operate here. That is the total opposite of what the BBC should be.
 

Sloppy Bob

Member
I think the licence is great value for money, for all the entertainment it provides, News, Radio etc.

I do think though that the money should be collected another way and not via advertising.

I moved house fairly recently and decided to cut the cord. I don't have my TV's tuned to any stations or connected to any aerials and I removed BBC iPlayer from them. Blurays, Netflix and Amazon Prime for me, for now, although I do miss the news.
 

NicolasB

Well-known Member
And I really must quibble with this notion of having to "pay twice" for BritBox, as if that were somehow a rip-off. I don't think people have any idea of how complicated and expensive it is to release an archived programme for additional viewing.

Some might find it instructive to have a look at the Doctor Who Restoration Team website and see some of the processes involved in restoring an old show. For example:

- "Doctor Who" was often shot using a mixture of video and 16mm film. In some cases the original film stock survives as well as the video tape of the entire episode; here, the film is scanned and digitised, which gives a significant boost to picture quality for the filmed scenes. (And the serial "Spearhead from Space" was actually remastered into HD and released on blu ray).

- Old TV shows were sometimes archived by being transferred to film - often simply by pointing a film camera at a monitor during broadcast. This results in what was originally a 50Hz interlaced video image being compressed down to a 25FPS progressive one. The team created a technique (”VidFIRE") which reverses that process.

- Some "Doctor Who" episodes were converted from PAL to NTSC (badly) and the original PAL versions lost. The team developed a technique for back-converting to PAL which significantly improves the picture.

- In cases where a colour episode was preserved only on black and white film, what was originally an unwanted side effect of the chroma information in the signal appearing as high frequency dark and white dots can be used to partially reconstruct the original colour from the black and white image. In one story, three episodes are re-colourised using this technique, and the fourth is colourised almost by hand (one frame in four is done manually, the other by a computer extrapolating).

- For some stories where there is both a black and white film and a colour NTSC conversion available (but no original PAL) they were able to combine luminance information from the film with chroma information from the back-converted video. (Not an easy task, given that film can shrink or stretch unevenly over time, while a video image doesn't).

- There's a lot of general clean-up of scratches, drop-outs, etc.

- For some stories there are optional CGI effects that can replace or enhance some of the original effects shots.

- In cases where an episode is entirely missing except for an audio track, the BBC commissioned brand new animated versions to replace them.

And that's just the technical side. On top of that, there are all of the financial and legal costs:

Actors who appear in a show need to be paid additional royalties if the episode is released on DVD or a streaming service.

Any music needs to have additional fees paid to the copyright holder. (On the DVD release of "Hamish Macbeth" there's an episode missing. The reason is that the plot revolves around an amateur production of "West Side Story" and the cast sing a couple of songs from the show. The cost of licensing those songs on a DVD was so vast that the BBC had no choice but to simply omit it from the DVD entirely.)

And there are a whole host of other creative and legal expenses involved.

And yet people genuinely believe that this entire process should be provided free of charge to anyone who wants to view the show! It boggles the mind.
 

Har-One

Member
The BBC has two sides like pretty much everything. It produces wonderful programs but not all of their programs are wonderful.

First of all they should cut down the salaries of its employees, including the presenters that earn a fortune and are nothing but parasites. The debate about competition has been used over and over to justify those salaries. They do not have to compete about funding, that is the sole reason of the license.

Another myth is impartiality, there is not a single TV Channel,newspaper or similar that is impartial. All of them have some bias and an editor who decides what will make it into the light or ends contract to journalists who do not want to compromise. For example, the Jeremy Thorpe scandal was shown decades later. The BBC might be one of the less partial but not totally impartial.

The BBC still has a place in British society but needs to modernise and probably changing its funding strategy, including going commercial. Of course that its "impartiality" would be more compromised. The right balance between impartiality and funding might be a tough nut to crack.
 

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