UK media owners prefer public BBC

The UK's commercial media industry wants the BBC to remain publicly funded, according to new research by Starcom MediaVest Group.

BBC: 75 per cent of respondents would feel more confident about their business if it remained public
BBC: 75 per cent of respondents would feel more confident about their business if it remained public

The study, What UK Media Owners Say, surveyed 150 senior executives from commercial teams including Channel 4, Facebook, Global, News UK, Trinity Mirror and Sky.

It found that 85 per cent of respondents believed the BBC should remain publicly funded, with 75 per cent saying they would feel more confident about their business if that were the case.

Eighty-two per cent felt a private BBC would pose a significant threat to the media sector, with national TV (89 per cent) believed to be most at risk. This was followed by national radio (61 per cent), local TV (51 per cent) and online news sites (49 per cent). Social media and out-of-home were considered the least likely to be affected.

The findings highlight the respect the BBC still garners. When asked how they would fund the BBC, the respondents gave some interesting suggestions. One said it should be "publicly funded but streamlined with a supplementary commercial arm".

Another thought the BBC "should also sell partnerships". A third called for more options for the BBC to license content globally as an additional revenue stream.

However, recent scandals at the BBC have left their mark, with one-quarter of those surveyed believing there is a lack of public trust in the corporation. Thirty-eight per cent did not trust the BBC as a media professional.

The study also found that 83 per cent of media owners think the UK leaving the European Union would have a negative impact on the economy.

Steve Parker, co-chief executive of Starcom MediaVest Group, said: "Ultimately, the results suggest that for our industry to continue to flourish we need to remain in the EU and the BBC needs to stay publically funded.

"These are key issues not only for our industry but the country as whole and in the coming weeks and months ahead the debates will surely intensify."