Advertisers and agencies joined the throng of commercial
broadcasters giving the Davies Committee’s proposed digital licence fee
supplement an overwhelming thumbs down last week.
The committee recommended an additional temporary licence fee of pounds
24 for digital TV subscribers, arguing that this would prevent analogue
viewers from having to subsidise digital viewers and BBC digital
Commercial broadcasters and set-top box manufacturers, which had formed
a ’war council’ in the run-up to the publication of the committee’s
conclusions, are now threatening to take the case to the European
Their legal advisers are seeking to prove that using a licence fee to
fund BBC digital services would constitute use of state resources, and
that such a practice would need EC approval to avoid being declared
But a spokesperson for the BBC said: ’This is simply a set of proposals.
In three months’ time we will see what the Government decides to
The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers said it had no
confidence in the viability of the digital licence fee supplement. It
also questioned the logic of the Davies Committee’s rejection of
advertising or sponsorship as a source of future funding, particularly
in the light of its recommendation of a partial sell-off of BBC
Worldwide and BBC Resources.
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising also refused to support
the notion of an additional licence fee, arguing that there were clearly
other alternatives and that the fee would slow down the development of
Ray Kelly, chairman of the IPA media policy group, said: ’The IPA
remains committed to ensuring that the BBC works to its remit as a
public service broadcaster. We believe funding for digital services
could be found from a number of non-core services which would be better
provided by the commercial sector.’
Media Forum, p16.