Licence fee should be shared with commercial broadcasters says public

LONDON - The majority of the public would prefer the BBC to share part of the licence fee with commercial regional news providers, according to Ben Bradshaw, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport.

The DCMS commissioned TNS to examine people's attitudes towards the BBC. The research found 65% of the public would like to see the licence fee subsidise ITV regional news while 73% thought there should be a variety of regional news TV content.

The survey also found some confusion among members of the public, with 8% believing it already funded ITV, while 9% said it paid for Channel 4.

The DCMS’s findings contradict similar research by the BBC Trust, released last week by Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons and BBC director general Mark Thompson, which found 49% preferred reducing the licence fee over funding commercial broadcasters. The DCMS survey did not ask a similar question.

The BBC believes Bradshaw's plan to 'top slice' the licence fee would weaken its editorial independence.

Bradshaw and Thompson are set to speak at the Royal Television Society’s convention today.

It is Bradshaw's first public speech since taking up his new role in June. His view on how the licence fee should be spent is likely to feature heavily.

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