- BBC “would do very well under subscription model,” says chairman
- BBC DG criticised government for abolishing over-75s TV licence
- BBC global audience grows additional 50M in 2019
The BBC chairman has admitted the public service broadcaster would “do very well under a subscription model,” speaking in the UK House of Lords yesterday on the future of broadcasting.
Opening the discussion, BBC chairman Sir David Clementi addressed the valuable and important “direct relationship” the broadcaster holds with the public: “It’s at the heart of what we do.”
He said: “I actually think the BBC would do very well under a subscription model, but it would not be the BBC that we know today.”
He highlighted that the corporation serves roughly 90% of the UK public per week, which is linked directly to the licence fee, speaking during the House of Lords Communications Committee’s ongoing inquiry into public service broadcasting in the age of video on-demand.
He continued: “It would be there to serve its subscribers and the subscribers by their very nature are those who are better off.
“The direct link with the licence fee is, I think, very fundamental to us at the BBC.”
Earlier this month the BBC confirmed its free TV license fees for those over 75 who receive Pension Credits will be abolished from June 2020 when a means test will come into effect.
Speaking during the Select Committee discussion, BBC director general Lord Tony Hall joined to address the recent change in which almost four million UK pensioners will have to pay for a TV licence after the government-funded scheme.
Hall claimed the cuts stemmed from “Conservative’s austerity,” and criticised the Government for a lack of transparency and negotiations over the BBC’s charter.
The corporation will now mean test licence holders aged 75+ to prevent financial risk to other services. It was estimated the pensioner concession for a TV licence would have cost the broadcaster £725 million by 2020.
- Read more: BBC abolishes free TV licences for over-75s
Hall added that the BBC must be careful not to rely heavily on the likes of Netflix and Amazon financially.
He said: “We want to work with them, but we are working with them with our eyes open.”
Pointing to the increasing cost of content productions and financial spend on original dramas resulted in co-productions as a short-term solution for the BBC but ultimately the Corporation would work with online platforms “much less” in the future.
BBC audience grows additional 50M in 2019
Globally, the BBC is retaining and growing its audiences more than ever before, having increased its international audience by 13%.
The BBC released its 2019 Global Audience Measure confirming its viewership has increased to 426 million this year, which is an additional 50 million from 2018.
While, BBC News grew by 47 million to 394 million and the BBC World Service in English grew to 319 million an additional 41 million from 2018.
BBC World Service in English and the BBC World News TV channel have both achieved record audiences of 97m and 101m respectively.
Syndication of BBC content via partner television and radio stations around the world and distribution via digital platforms like YouTube and Facebook, now add up to over 60% of audience reach.
Audio continues to be a major platform for the World Service, rising by 12.9m to 173m listeners worldwide. On all platforms, 30% of the audience is aged between 15-24 years.
On these results, Hall said: “Every day our teams do an amazing job bringing independent, impartial news to audiences around the world, and today we can see just how much the BBC is valued.
“Thanks to Government investment we’ve been able to launch the biggest expansion of the World Service since the Second World War, and this shows how much the BBC can do for the UK.”
BBC News now operates in nine languages in India has seen a rise of 20 million to 50 million to become the top overseas market for BBC News.
While, the USA becomes the third largest market overall with 38 million, up 5 million and its audience in Kenya has increased from 6 million to 15 million in the last year reaching 50% of the population.
In Afghanistan, the BBC reaches 59% of the population, with the BBC News websites (World Service and bbc.com) have increased their combined reach by 6 million to 51 million globally.
The BBC has launched a scheme to encourage more women to pursue a career in software engineering. The programme runs for 14 weeks to cover front end and back end skills.
BBC chief technology and product offer Matthew Postage said: “We want to ensure that everyone can shape the future of technology so that everyone can benefit.”