CAMPAIGN DIARY: I’M ONLY A PUNTER BUT ..

Say, there’s a new TV broadcaster launching. A company similar to Sky or Granada or ONdigital.

Say, there’s a new TV broadcaster launching. A company similar to

Sky or Granada or ONdigital.



It is going to offer two separate channels. The first is a mainstream

station offering the usual breakfast and daytime programmes, with

sitcoms and dramas in the evening.



The second channel offers a mix of documentaries and informative

programming such as cooking or wildlife, with the occasional sporting

event, and some modern comedy in the evening.



The only real ’big name’ shows are EastEnders on the first channel and

perhaps The Fast Show on the second. The subscription for the two

channels is about pounds 10 a month and you get a couple of radio

stations thrown in.



Would you sign up?



Probably not. It’s not a particularly inviting offer compared with other

TV providers. But here’s the catch. You have to. No choice

whatsoever.



Subscription is compulsory.



Even if you only use a TV set to watch Sky or play video games, you’re

obliged to subscribe to these stations. Hardly fair, is it? So how does

the BBC get away with it?



In a free market of choice and healthy competition, why doesn’t it have

to compete at all? Everyone else has to fight for viewers by providing

desirable TV, while the BBC gets to tell us, ’Pay up, or we’ll send the

law round’.



Imagine if Sky was allowed to do that. Charge everyone in Britain pounds

10 a month regardless of whether they wanted to watch dated movies or

cartoons, and fine them thousands of pounds if they disagree.



To add insult to injury, the BBC has just decided to increase its

compulsory subscription by pounds 3 a year. And why not? Who can argue

with the Beeb?



Not us, the ’customers’. We, apparently, have no right to choose what we

buy and what we don’t.





Got a rant or a Diary story? E-mail campaign@haynet.com or post it to

Diary editor, Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6.



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