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BBC under fire for not revealing impact of iPlayer on license fee model

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As the future of established business models in the media continue to splinter into chaos, a new row has broken out about the TV license fee. The right wing press and especially the Murdoch organs has long had it in for the BBC – Murdoch because he is their primary competitor, and the rest because the BBC perspective on things is usually saNe and not lowest common denominator bile.

So it is little surprise that certain organisations leapt on this latest story to cryptically question the license fee and suggest that the BBC is behaving in a suspect manner.

Basically, the BBC yesterday refused to reveal how many households are dodging the licence fee by watching BBC television content on the internet. One million homes in Britain do not pay the fee because they don’t actually own a television – the criteria for payment – but the question has now arisen – how many of those households watch publicly funded content on the iPlayer for free?

John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport committee, urged the BBC to publish the figures so the public could have a 'proper debate' on the future of the licence fee.

He said: 'The licence fee was created when television was in a different world, when there was very little choice and everybody watched the BBC.

'Today people have access to hundreds of channels as well as downloads, catch-up services and on demand.

'As more and more choice is available, the arguments for having a licence fee no longer hold.

'It is important that figures for things like how many people are avoiding the licence fee by using catch-up services are released so there can be an informed discussion about what to do about the fee.'

The BBC puts out an awful lot of dross. No doubt. But the level of public debate and public culture would take a terrifying nose dive if the vultures lurking in the wings get their way. Radio 4, BBC 4, and BBC 2 alone are worth 40p a day to keep British television at the forefront of culture. Have any of you actually seen an American documentary?? Or Channel 4 who now officially seem to believe that ‘documentary making’ involves prurience, voyeurism and ‘freaks. If the publicly funded model of the BBC and their remit to produce intelligent programming goes – then the only way is not just down – but quite frankly - Essex

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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