BBC needs ‘things that people like’ to survive, says former administrator ‘Double Strictly!’ | Politics | News
Journalism professor at Cardiff University, Professor Richard Tait, spoke to Express.co.uk about the survival of the BBC and what the broadcaster needed to do to survive. Following the announcements licensing fees will be frozen for two years, debates have been reignited over whether licensing fees should remain, with some arguing that a state-funded broadcaster was no longer needed in the UK. Professor Tait pushed back against these arguments and suggested that the BBC provide services that no other commercial broadcaster would ever consider, but if it was to survive and continue these services it had to ‘double down’ on the things that the general public loved.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Prof Tait was asked how the BBC is staying relevant and surviving calls to scrap license fees.
He explained: “I think the BBC needs to redouble its efforts on the things it does that are distinctive, and that includes Strictly Come Dancing and Match of the Day and EastEnders and things that mainstream audiences love.
“So he has to double down on that, he also has to keep doing things that no commercial organization would do.
“No commercial organization would run a network of local radio stations, local talk-based radio stations, like the BBC does.
“No commercial organization would broadcast programs in Welsh and most commercial organizations now find it very difficult to justify the presence of large production centers throughout the country.”
Professor Tait added that the BBC’s hyper-local outlets will cost a lot of money, but it will help portray the BBC as a “good citizen” that provides something more than a news or entertainment.
He explained, “The thing they have to find is that they have to keep making the really fabulous mass material that people love.
“But they also have to stay, if you’re like you, a good citizen and try to bring public value to what they’re doing.
“Rather than just saying, Well, we’re going to cut it all because not many people watch these kinds of documentaries.
“Not many people like this kind of music, we don’t care about local news anymore.
“If they do that, I think they’re doomed.”
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has announced a freeze on BBC licensing fees for the next two years, which would be part of the so-called ‘Operation Red Meat’ to win over supporters for the Tories.
Fees will be fixed until April 2024, then increase with inflation for the following four years.
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This will continue until the end of the current Royal Charter on December 31, 2027.
Danish Journalists Association chairwoman Tine Johanson told Express.co.uk Denmark has now adopted a much fairer tax system than the media license they have to pay.
Ms Johanson explained that while Denmark’s main broadcaster, DR, has seen hundreds of jobs cut due to the transition, the system is seen as a good alternative to license fees.
However, she warns that the tax system risks being politicized as she fears the new system will require tax funds to be earmarked for media broadcasters otherwise they could be used for other services.