Nigel Walley – February 2009
I opened my bank statement the other day to see how much I paid Sky. What I found interesting wasn’t the Sky number, but the line underneath. By some quirk, the direct debit that I pay to TV licencing was listed underneath. I pay just over £11 a month to the BBC for TV and radio. Now, as a middle class middle Englander, I understand how much value I squeeze out of the BBC for that money. I probably use way over the average amount of BBC output, and don’t begrudge it. What I find odd is that the industry still lumps the BBC together with ITV, C4 and Five in our discussions about free to air television.
The BBC is quite clearly not a free to air broadcaster. I pay a subscription every month to access the content and it is quite clearly a Pay-TV operator in terms of the way it is financed. The only differences between the BBC and the other Pay-TV operators are that it is a compulsory subscription and that they have a variety of public service obligations in return.