The House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee is launching an inquiry into the future funding of the BBC. The Committee invites written contributions by 11 March. The Committee expects to hold oral evidence sessions from the end of February onwards.
The broadcasting landscape is changing rapidly—characterised by intense competition, rising production costs and changing viewing habits. Technological development has led to increasing consumer choice over media.
The BBC’s current income is around £5 billion, of which roughly £3.6 billion is generated from the licence fee. The remainder is generated through other, non-public means. The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recently stated that it was time to “look further into the future” and confirmed that the Government will undertake a review of the overall BBC licence fee model, with discussions beginning “shortly”.
This inquiry will consider how the BBC should be funded in future to deliver what is needed from a national public service broadcaster. It builds on previous committee reports, including Public Service Broadcasting: as vital as ever (published 5 November 2019); The future of Channel 4 (published 26 November 2021); and the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s report The future of public service broadcasting (published 25 March 2021). The committee is keen to hear from interested stakeholders and individuals, including the general public, academics, Government, media organisations and industry analysts.
(1)How will new technologies and consumer habits change the future broadcasting landscape?
(2)What is the purpose of a national broadcaster?
(3)What principles and priorities should inform the choice of the BBC’s funding model? And how would any alternative funding models affect what the BBC can provide?
(4)How should the BBC change over the next five years to adapt to evolving consumer habits and needs—and what does the Corporation need to do to prepare for the future in the longer term?
(5)What actions and consultations are needed from the government to inform its future BBC funding plans?