Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Small Shave For The BBC

So, it appears that the TV licence is with us to stay in the UK, with the BBC having to makes some minor concessions but leaving relatively unassailed.

Perhaps what will surprise most people is that the biggest concession is that the BBC will now fund the, er..., BBC World Service. The World Service, from its Bush House outpost in The Strand was set up as a propaganda service and funded by the Foreign Office up until this announcement.

Rationalising the various tentacles of the Corporation makes sense. What is more concerning is that the BBC is also tasked with funding the Welsh language channel, S4C and providing funding for 'local content'. In effect extending its control and monopoly (unless very careful regulation is put in place). It's already a quirk that the Department for Culture, Media & Sports already funds S4C, not the Welsh Assembly Government. In Scotland the Gaelic language service BBC Alba is already run by the Corporation.

The amount of money being set aside for local content production is tiny, at just £32m.

This outcome is disappointing and I'm sure there are smiles all around on the top floor of Broadcasting House tonight.