The proposed introduction of a digital licence fee has drawn
widespread criticism this week as the broadcasting industry tabled its
response to the Davies Committee report on the funding of the BBC.
ITV has firmly rejected the idea of a licence fee for digital television
viewers, which the Davies Committee suggested should be introduced and
set at the level of pounds 24 a year.
ITV’s out-going chief executive, Richard Eyre, said the digital fee was
unacceptable ’because we believe there is scope for more investment in
programmes and services for the benefit of the public from within the
BBC’s existing budget’. Eyre called for greater debate on the scope of
the BBC and its use of money.
The issue of the BBC’s commercial activities has also come under
scrutiny following the Davies Committee’s recommendations in the summer
for greater transparency in the Corporation’s spending and the partial
privatisation of some BBC divisions.
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, in its submission on the
report, has reiterated its criticism of the digital licence and has
questioned why the BBC requires additional money in the first place. The
IPA believes that the BBC doesn’t need to be as ambitious in arenas such
as digital TV, where it is competing with commercial media companies
without supplying anything that the commercial sector can’t.
The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers has underlined its
interest in seeing some form of commercial on-air funding to bridge the
revenue shortfall at the BBC and stresses that MORI research found that
74 per cent of the public were in favour of sponsorship as a source of
more revenue and 55 per cent favoured advertising.