Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Dr J M Wober


  I enclose a copy of a letter I sent to The Times.

  I would be grateful if I could be correctly informed on the matter of who "owns" the broadcasting licence. It is my (strong) impression that it does not "belong" to the BBC and if that is so, it must be wrong if it was the BBC which moved the contract for collection from the Post Office, to Capita. Indeed, if it is not the BBC's (owned) licence then has the transfer of contract been legitimate? If it was the DCMS which moved the contract, is anybody convinced of the soundness of the change?

  To establish that the BBC is doing the job it should, we the public need to be shown two kinds of measure (at least):—

    —  a measure of diversity of the programming that is provided;

    —  a measure of appreciation of programmes that have been seen.

  The former measure does not exist, in a standard and well understood form.

  The second exists (and has done so for three decades) but results should be published.

  It is written into the Broadcasting Act (1990) that the ITC should carry out research on the effects (if any) on the public, of programmes broadcast. Not only has the ITC not done this in the last few years, it has discontinued its support of the Appreciation Measurement service run by BARB, which can be used for such Effects Studies. As far as I know, nobody has queried this drastic shortcoming in the ITC's research responsibilities.

  I hope that we may see, in future, a regulator which will not only act for but also provide sophisticated information to the public, along the lines indicated above.

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