Response to Davies report slams BBC’s digital licence idea

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.

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.