Future of the BBC - Culture, Media and Sport Contents


Annex A: Comparison of the Trust, Burns and the Committee's proposed models for oversight of the BBC
Under Trust model: Under Burns panel's proposal: Under Committee proposal:
Constitution Oversight body inside BBC. External to BBC.Same as Burns' recommendation.
BBC Trust is the BBC's sovereign body. Unitary BBC Board with non-executive Chair - separate external public-interest oversight and regulation i.e. by a new Public Service Broadcasting Commission (PSBC) and Ofcom. Same as Burns' recommendation.
Appointments Chairman of the Trust appointed by the Government following Cabinet Office public appointment process and now subject to a pre-appointment hearing by Culture, Media and Sport Committee Government would have appointed Chair of PSBC and other commissioners following best practice public appointment rules. Same as Burns' recommendation. The Government's preferred candidate for Chair of PSBC subject to a parliamentary pre-appointment hearing.
Chair of the Executive Board appointed by the Trust. Chair of BBC Board would have been appointed by Government following accepted best practice. Same as Burns' recommendation. The Government's preferred candidate subject to a parliamentary pre-appointment hearing.
Chair of the Executive Board can be appointed in an executive or a non-executive capacity (but so far always the former and the director general). Non-executive Chair of unitary BBC Board would have been known as BBC Chairman. Same as Burns' recommendation.
Board BBC Executive has majority of executive members. Non-executives would have been in majority on unitary BBC Board. Same as Burns' recommendation.


Trust sets the overall strategic direction for the BBC within the framework set by the Charter and Framework Agreement following proposals made by the BBC Executive. PSBC would have subjected the BBC's strategic plan, prepared by the BBC Board, to open and transparent scrutiny. Plan would have included broad objectives of television and radio channels, online and other services, broad allocation of expenditure by service, audiences and genre. The PSBC would neither formulate nor have to approve the overall strategy for the BBC, but would scrutinise and make recommendations.
Trust approves high-level strategy and budgets in respect of the BBC's services. PSBC would have approved or rejected high-level strategic plan and budgets in respect of the BBC's services. PSBC would scrutinise and make recommendations about BBC Board's proposals.
Trust defines suitable performance criteria and measures against which the effective promotion of the Public Purposes are judged. PSBC would have defined suitable performance criteria and measures against which the effective promotion of the Public Purposes would be judged. Same as Burns.
Trust assesses the performance of the Executive Board in delivering the BBC's services and activities and holds the Executive to account for its performance. PSBC would have assessed performance of unitary board and held it to account. Same as Burns. PSBC to possess power to recommend ultimate funding sanctions.
Purpose remits Trust sets multi-year purpose remits, and approves strategies which include high-level budgetary allocations. PSBC would have had a similar role to the Trust. BBC Board would set remits and budgets, PSBC would scrutinise them and make recommendations.
Service licences/ service reviews Trust issues service licences for BBC services and monitors compliance with them PSBC would have adopted the Trust's routine of service licence and periodic service reviews. PSBC to review and report on BBC service licences, but final approval made by BBC Board. PSBC to possess threat of recommending funding sanctions.
Public value tests (PVTs) Trust carries out public value tests and decides on whether the BBC may introduce new services or close existing ones. Ofcom carries out market impact assessments. PSBC same as Trust. Ofcom's role unchanged. PSBC to carry out public value tests of BBC services and review proposals for new services and closures. Also able to initiate PVTs on existing services. Expectation on BBC Board to adhere to PSBC's findings, backed up by threat of recommending funding sanctions.
Trust approves individual strategic or financial proposals where they stand to have significant implications for the fulfilment of the purpose remits. Not specified. Scrutiny role but no formal approval role
Trust, where appropriate, conducts investigations into any activity of the BBC which it has grounds to suspect does not comply with requirements supervised by the Trust. Broadly PSBC same as Trust. Conduct investigations into any activity of the BBC which causes concern.
Value for money Commissions value-for-money investigations into specific areas of BBC activity. NAO conducts value for money investigations by agreement with the BBC Trust. Broadly PSBC same as Trust. In conjunction with an NAO having unfettered access to the BBC (but not commenting on editorial decision-making), PSBC assesses value-for-money of the BBC and its services.
Trust acts as guardian of the licence fee and the public interest in the BBC and delivers ongoing programme of public consultations and engagement. PSBC would have represented the public interest on all BBC activities and public funding in broadcasting and delivered ongoing programme of public consultation and engagement. Same as Burns' recommendation.
Regulation Ofcom responsible for regulation of competition, economic, spectrum and pan-broadcasting issues. Same as existing arrangement. Same as existing arrangement.
Final arbiter of complaints regarding content over matters of impartiality and accuracy. PSBC final arbiter of complaints regarding content over matters of impartiality and accuracy. Ofcom final arbiter of complaints regarding BBC content including over matters of impartiality and accuracy.
Independence Trust secures the independence of the BBC. PSBC same as Trust. PSBC would help secure the BBC's independence but it would principally fall to the Chairman of the BBC to defend and champion the BBC's position.
Level of licence fee No role. PSBC would have recommended to Government and Parliament the overall level of the licence fee and any other funding needed to support the BBC. Same as Burns' recommendation.
Contestable funding No role.PSBC would have judged the allocation of the licence fee between the BBC and other broadcasters and ensured a degree of plurality in supply of certain areas of PSB content Same as Burns' recommendation.
Financial sanction Not applicable.PSBC to possess potential backstop power to withhold some of the licence fee from the BBC Same as Burns' recommendation.

Annex B: Terms of reference for the inquiry into the Future of the BBC

Released by press notice on 22 October 2014

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is holding an inquiry into the BBC ahead of its current Royal Charter ending in December 2016. The Royal Charter is the constitutional basis for the BBC. It sets out the public purposes of the BBC, guarantees its independence, and outlines the duties of the Trust and the Executive Board. It is supplemented by an Agreement with the Secretary of State that sits alongside the Charter, which provides detail on many of the topics outlined in the Charter and also covers the BBC's funding and its regulatory duties.

Since the last Charter renewal in 2006, the communications and media environment has evolved significantly, with an abundance of content, platforms and services accessed by an increasing number of people. Yet the popularity of traditional television and radio services remains strong. The Committee will consider the BBC beyond 2016 and invites written submissions on any of the following questions:

·  What should the BBC be for and what should be the purpose of public service broadcasting?

·  How well has the BBC performed in the current Charter period in achieving its mission and public purposes?

Are the public purposes in the current Charter the right ones? How might they change?

·  What scope, scale and remit should the BBC have?

Should the BBC's output and services be provided to any greater or lesser degree for particular audiences?

·  What balance should be struck in what the BBC produces in-house, commissions externally and leaves entirely to others to create?

·  How have the BBC's commercial activities during the current Charter fitted with the BBC's public purposes and have they achieved an adequate return for licence fee payers? What should be the aims, scope and scale of such activities beyond 2016?

·  What role should the BBC play in developing technology and new ways of distributing content?

·  How should the BBC be funded beyond 2016?

Is there a case for distributing funding for public service content more widely beyond the BBC?

·  What comparisons can be made with the provision of public service content in other countries?

·  How should the BBC be governed, regulated and held accountable beyond 2016?

In a constantly evolving communications environment, does a 10-year Royal Charter and Agreement with the Secretary of State, together, provide the most appropriate constitutional framework for the BBC?

Annex C: Visit to the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark - comparative visit looking at public service broadcasting

Monday 12 May —programme in The Hague

General briefing with Sir Geoffrey Adams KCMG, HM Ambassador at British Embassy

Meeting with the Council for Culture to discuss future of PSB in the Netherlands

Meeting with the Ministry of Education Culture & Science

Tuesday 13 May—programme in Hilversum

Meeting with the Dutch Media Authority (Commissariaat voor de Media)

Meeting with Netherlands Public Broadcaster (NPO)

Meeting with NL Broadcasters Council (College van Omroepen)

Meeting with VPRO and KRO/NCRV (two Dutch broadcaster associations)

Meeting with RTL

Wednesday 14 May —programme in Mainz and Frankfurt

Meetings with ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen)

Working lunch with:

·  Dr. Dieter Dörr, Professor of Media Law, Johannes-Gutenberg-University, Mainz;

·  Dr. Franz Rothlauf, Professor of Information Systems, Johannes-Gutenberg-University, Mainz;

·  Dr. Peter Widlok, Spokesperson for the Association of German Media Authorities;

·  Tabea Roessner, Member of Parliament and Member of the Committee for Media and Cultural Affairs; and

·  Claus Grewenig, Director Association of Commercial Broadcasters (VPRT).

Meeting with Michael Hanfeld, Media Editor at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Thursday 15 May—programme in Copenhagen

Meeting with the Danish Press Council (Pressenævnet)

Meeting with the Danish Journalist Association

Meetings with TV2

Meetings with Danish Radio

Meeting with the Ministry of Culture

End of programme

Annex D: Online consultation: Students' views about the BBC and television

During the inquiry into the Future of the BBC the Committee decided to hold a short web consultation targeted at young people to canvass opinions on the BBC and on viewing and listening habits more generally. A three-week consultation was hosted on The Student Room (TSR) website, an online forum for students, just before the start of the new college year in September. TSR is open to people at any stage of education, although the majority of its members fall within the 14 to 24 age range.

The e-consultation was promoted on the Committee's own website, as well as on the Student Room's site, and included an introductory video by the Chair of the Committee setting out the inquiry and inviting students to participate through sharing their views and voting in polls.

Students were asked to respond to the following questions:

·  How do you prefer to watch television and listen to the radio?

·  How do you think the BBC should be paid for?

·  Does the BBC appeal to you? What is your "go to" television? How does the BBC's content aimed at young people compare with the choice that is available elsewhere?

·  Would you miss BBC programmes and content if they were no longer there? What would you miss?

·  Who should pay for the BBC?

·  The BBC has plans to make some of its content aimed at younger people available only on iPlayer. What do you think about that?

In total there were over 500 comments posted by 224 respondents. In one of the polls on viewing preferences over 600 votes were cast although not all of those who voted left comments.

Below is a summary of the points made in response to the questions asked and also a selection of some of the posts submitted.

How do you prefer to watch TV and listen to the radio?

·  The majority of respondents to this question cited catch-up services as their preferred method of viewing television content. Many mentioned that they view programmes via the BBC iPlayer and 4oD. Sky Go was also a popular service, particularly due to its wide range of films.

·  Many disliked the number of adverts that appeared on some on-demand services.

·  In addition to broadcasters' catch-up sites, other popular services for viewing TV-like content were Netflix and YouTube.

·  A general preference was for sport to be watched live—in particular football matches. Some respondents stated that watching sport was the only time that they viewed live TV.

·  There was a limited response on radio preferences: many stating that they rarely listened to radio, and if they did, it was whilst travelling by car.

·  A few respondents admitted that they streamed television programmes and films via illegal sites such as Pirate Bay.

·  Many respondents did not own a television, but either used a laptop or tablet for viewing TV-content. As such, catch-up TV (particularly iPlayer) and Netflix were preferred as they were easier to access and aimed at those who watched online.

Key Quotes:

"I think TV has fallen by the wayside and we are now entering a new era of on-demand content."

"I use both Netflix and YouTube on my TV. To be honest with you, I rarely watch "TV on the TV" (i.e. channels), I mean, in this day and age where you can access the internet at your fingertips I find the channels slightly boring."

"The broadband around my area is the equivalent of dial-up in terms of speed and cannot cope with video streaming, although fibre is available. The BBC will be cutting off young people who either a) parents cannot afford internet or fast internet b) areas that have a poor internet connection c) those people who are experiencing lengthy periods of disconnection."

"I try to watch scheduled TV. That's because I love to watch it on my big screen, not as nice as on my 15'' Laptop, but most shows I watch on-line. Radio rarely"

How do you think the BBC should be paid for?

·  The majority favoured continuing with the licence fee. There was a general consensus that the BBC was something of a British tradition and as such, there was not a huge appetite to see it change. However, some respondents noted that the BBC earned income by selling programmes overseas and queried how this money was invested.

·  Just under 20 per cent of those who voted in the poll wanted the BBC to be funded through subscription.

·  Some respondents noted that the licence fee was a significant cost and one which was not easily affordable for students.

·  Despite the fact that the Student Room's audience was probably one with less income, given that most are not in full-time work, the support for funding the BBC through advertising was not as extensive as might have been expected. Many who responded expressed a dislike for adverts and would not want to see them on the BBC.

·  Many who said that they could not afford the licence fee reported that they avoided the charge by not watching live television, instead viewing programmes later via catch-up.

·  While the licence fee was the preferred option, there was also a feeling among many that television and viewing methods were changing considerably and that the current licence fee model might not be sustainable.

Key quotes:

"40p per day adds up to £150 for the year (ish) which is a lot of money for students. That's a month of food with enough left for some nights out. A lot of money"

"You can break anything you want down into price per day and it looks insignificant. Even if you said £1 a day it seems quite small. I feel however that there should be a much easier opt out…

The problem with the BBC is that the licence fee is not justified as it does nothing ground-breaking outside of BBC4 maybe, which is the only channel of its kind. Everything else [the] BBC does is done elsewhere, and is commercially viable, that is not what the licence fee is for.

"I still believe a TV licence is the best way of ensuring the BBC can produce high quality broadcasts. Adverts are a massive time waste and I would much rather have an ad-free experience. I feel having a taxable portion of an individual's income is a viable option but many people are disgruntled with the sheer volume of taxation they are coping with and since not all are regularly TV viewers it is most likely unfair to tax those who will have no benefit from what that taxation will fund. As for subscription they are too much hassle to maintain if those by Sky and other networks are anything to go by so in my opinion; a TV licence is the way forth. If it isn't broke don't fix it.

"I am a traditionalist when it comes to TV - the BBC is "Britain"...... it's not hard to get nostalgic about it, it's a big part of our culture for me. I'm definitely not a fan of adverts, I watch most things on record so I can fast forward commercial breaks. A tax isn't all that fair given some people do not have televisions and unlike the NHS this really isn't a "life or death" situation.

"I genuinely groan when my yearly TV licence email comes through.... £100 straight out the account just before Christmas! Ouch! It seems like a lot of money at the time.

"It's frustrating that I choose to have a TV but my neighbour next door could plug in their tablet into a screen and watch iPlayer for free... with a 30 minute delay to live programming!

"Another subscription service would turn me off—I already pay for Virgin Media and Netflix and with that comes all the catch up channels. If that's the way it has to go would the BBC work with providers such as Sky, Virgin Media and BT to build in the charge into the monthly/yearly cost of their packages like Sky Sports or Netflix?

"To be honest, I think they should be run commercially, the idea behind the licence fee is that the BBC makes shows which are not economically viable for a commercially run station to produce. These days that is not the case, they see talent shows on ITV, and copy them, they are more than commercially viable these days, and should have to be funded as such."

"I would like adverts in between as every other channel does this I don't understand why BBC need to be funded differently?"

"Either that, or subscription similar to Netflix as such—that way, people who don't get signal, don't watch BBC etc are not obligated to pay for it."

"I don't think it is fair, but then again neither is funding nuclear weapons through direct taxation, at least the BBC provide a service which benefits most people."

"Alternatively, we could even have a choice if we want to watch adverts or not, and pay for a premium package which is advert free."

"I'd hate the idea of adverts personally. But the corporation makes many hundreds of millions from selling the rights to shows like Top Gear, Strictly Come Dancing and Doctor Who all over the world, the first two are among the most watched television shows globally. The BBC just needs to use the money from that more sensibly. Cut down the dross that it doesn't need".

"Given this shift away from TV, and the difficulty in preventing and tracking activity across a wide range of online, digital and radio services, I don't think the current model is long-term sustainable unless the BBC finds a way to retain live TV viewing figures. I also think the current model isn't progressive. If you're unemployed and looking for work, the BBC's documentaries, news, weather, current affairs, etc are useful, and I also don't think poor people should have their light entertainment taken away from them because they can't afford a TV Licence (it would be around 5% of many people's weekly JSA). It's hardly living the life of luxury having a TV, as the Daily Mail would like to portray. I also think that whilst not everybody purchases a TV Licence, almost everybody consumes BBC media in some form each year. Given that pretty much everybody does, and that it should be seen as a public service (after some reforms), I feel it should be paid for through general taxation."

"The BBC should never have adverts! I would pay TV licence for all of the channels if it meant no adverts, however I think the TV licence should NOT work like a driving licence, it should work that the TV only works once you have paid the fee and then cut off if you don't pay it, like how water, electricity and internet work. This would save the cost of having TV licence inspectors and mean bring down the fee of the TV licence as more people would be forced to pay it, meaning that each person would need to pay less!"

Does the BBC appeal to you? What is your "go to" television channel? How does the BBC's content aimed at young people compare with the choice that is available elsewhere?

·  There was a consensus that the BBC did not appeal to a younger audience to the same extent as other broadcasters. Channel 4, E4 and Comedy Central were named as the channels of choice for younger viewers. Of the BBC channels, BBC Three received the most positive response and programmes such as Bad Education and Being Human were singled out as appealing to younger viewers.

·  Several respondents commented that the BBC's output was biased.

·  A common complaint was that while many enjoyed watching BBC Three, popular US imports such as American Dad and Family Guy were not available to view online.

·  The BBC, particularly BBC One, was praised for its dramas. Programmes such as Sherlock and Doctor Who were particularly noted.

Key quotes:

"Most of my favourite TV shows are on the BBC—GBBO, University Challenge, Question Time, Bang Goes the Theory, Doctor Who! BBC 2 and BBC 4 always have good documentaries."

"The BBC doesn't really offer any TV shows that I deem are actually worth paying the licence fee for—they're all aimed towards an older generation (except for BBC 3 which is just full of repeats). I generally watch Channel 4 for the News and TV shows."

"I normally go to BBC3, I'm gutted they're axing it because they have great shows and can't show Family Guy online."

"Well I mainly go to BBC1 for dramas and BBC3 for real life documentaries/comedies and Family Guy. But if there is something of interest on BBC2 or 4 then I'll watch them."

"I think that the BBC should spend money on bringing US shows into the country, but they should also be working to develop their own original content. Bad Education and Cuckoo are two great series on BBC3 and they should be producing more shows like them."

"I love the BBC news channel it is my favourite channel! A bit weird for an 18 year old I know but I love the news! However, I love the Bake off and Doctor Who and I am gutted that BBC3 is being put online only as I love Russell Howard's Good News and watching the great comedies that have appeared on BBC3!"

"Everything apart from their news department is fine. BBC news is trash. Biased towards certain views and will do so subtly by using selective language in certain instances, reporting one side of an argument more than the other or leaving opposing opinions either as footnote at the bottom of an article, tucked away or not reporting it at all. It gets away with this due to its reputation for being unbiased with regards to political affiliation that people somehow think extends to other issues."

Who should pay for the BBC?

·  There was overwhelming support for the idea that the BBC should only be paid for by those who view and access BBC services.

·  A few people suggested that the licence fee as it stands should be abolished and the BBC should instead be funded by adverts.

·  There was support for encryption so that it would be possible to exclude access to those who had not paid for BBC services.

Key quotes:

"With fewer people watching TV as it is being broadcast, people will require licences less, and whilst licence revenue increased slightly last year, I think it will peak as the younger generations realise they don't actually need a licence."

"(i) Encrypt BBC Freeview transmissions in the same way that Top up TV ….(ii) Restrict the use of live iPlayer streaming to customers who have signed up with an account and pay a subscription to the BBC."

"I would happily never watch a BBC channel again if it meant not having to pay. I certainly don't spend most of my TV watching time watching BBC and would easily stop watching to avoid paying. The BBC channels are some of the worst out there yet they are the ones we pay for."

"I think, apart from the BBC news channel and BBC Parliament, the BBC should be privatised—the state's role isn't to entertain us. Entertainment is a privilege, not a right."

"The TV licensing model is outdated because it focuses on those who consume BBC services but doesn't correctly identify them—it relies purely on those watching TV as it is being broadcast, and ignores that pretty much everybody in the UK will engage with something from the BBC in some form or another every year."

"It's one of our national treasures. Publicly financed, largely independent of political bias, caters to the young and to the old, produces content that spans from the low brow to the highbrow, keeps Britain internationally relevant with its famous TV exports (Doctor Who, Top Gear, etc) and the BBC World Service, and really isn't that expensive if you think about it."

The BBC has plans to make some of its content aimed at younger people available only on iPlayer. What do you think about that?

·  Several respondents commented that moving BBC Three to iPlayer would exclude those without good broadband connections. One respondent noted that the proposal was discriminatory as limitations were being applied only to content aimed at younger persons.

·  On the other hand, some believed that reducing the spend on BBC Three could potentially reduce the BBC's expenditure, which in turn could lead to a reduced licence fee.

·  Some thought that the move online was a necessary step for the BBC to adapt to the way many younger people now chose to view content.

·  There was disillusionment among some with BBC Three given its over-reliance on US imports and the number of repeats shown. Others enjoyed these American shows.

·  Some thought that the BBC needed to improve its archive of programmes available online (similar to 4oD).

Key quotes:

"If BBC3 [does] go online only then we'll lose Family Guy and American Dad as the BBC pays for their rights from Fox but on the other hand, it may reduce the TV licence fee. It may become unpopular because not everybody has access to the internet."

"I think that it's completely wrong for BBC [Three] to become a purely online service, as a) not everyone has good internet, and b) watching live television should not be only available to older people. It's discriminatory."

"I think the reasoning is that young people are less likely to sit in front of the TV and instead stream things and use Netflix and the likes. I know that's definitely true with me. I couldn't tell you the last time I watched the TV, I just stream everything either off the Xbox or my laptop linked to the TV."

"Personally, I think it's awful! The government of this country only really cares about the older generation, probably because this is the generation most likely to vote. I personally have loved BBC3 and hope that there can be some way it can remain on TV, I love Russell Howard and many of the documentaries and comedies that have appeared on the channel."

"BBC Three has been a joke for at least 6 years, and nothing like back when it was BBC Choice when it showed great shows like Coupling, Monkey Dust etc

All I watch on it now is Family Guy, American Dad, and some of the home grown stuff like Cuckoo which is tolerable but nothing like the good days of Coupling

I would rather it showed good programmes and stayed on TV than anything else, I hate streaming as I always find it lower quality than broadcast and I like a schedule rather than just random shows being available."

"BBC3 broadcasts some good shows from time to time. I've watched quite a few documentaries on it and they were pretty interesting. I doubt I'd ever watch it if it went online only. I mostly watch it when I'm browsing through the channels and something catches my interests. It's unlikely I'd go out of my way to check what is showing online."

"iPlayer does need to boost its archives, admittedly, but it makes sense to transport BBC Three to digital only. Its quality has been dwindling for some time."

"If younger people could access that channel without a TV licence that would be quite fair because we'd have to pair the broadband to require it."

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© Parliamentary copyright 2015
Prepared 25 February 2015