The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers has welcomed the
Government’s decision to reject the digital licence fee and to review
the funding of the BBC with a view to increasing its revenue through
The Government this week agreed to a pounds 3 increase in the licence
fee, bringing its cost to pounds 104 from 1 April with a guarantee that
it will increase above the line of inflation until 2007. The BBC will
get pounds 220 million extra a year for the next seven years,
substantially less than the pounds 3 billion it asked for.
Announcing the decision, the culture secretary, Chris Smith, said he was
committed to ’reviewing the public service role and governance of the
BBC in the forthcoming Broadcasting and Communications White Paper’.
Calls by the commercial TV industry for greater transparency were also
backed by Smith. ’Extra funding must also be accompanied by improved
accountability,’ he said. ’For each extra pounds 1 the BBC receives from
the licence fee, it is expected to generate almost the equivalent
through self-help.’ He added that the BBC had been ’too much the judge
and jury of its own cause’.
A spokesman for the ISBA said: ’There were references to private/public
partnerships. It has been left somewhat open-ended as to how the BBC
will grow its revenue through its commercial services.
’They may need to look afresh at the full range of commercial options
such as sponsorship, advertising and the private and public sector
opportunities to make up the shortfall in revenue.’
Jim Marshall, the chief executive of MediaVest and broadcast spokesman
for the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, said: ’Given the fact
that the BBC has been told it’s got to define its own priorities, there
is probably a good case for the re-evaluation of its public sector
Zenith Media’s chief executive, Graham Duff, supported Marshall’s
Duff said: ’I thought that the pounds 24 digital supplement idea was a