Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the BBC charter green paper
- IBT’s primary interest is in the existing global purpose of the BBC, To bring the UK to the world and the world to the UK. Television plays a vital role in engaging us with the wider world because, despite the growth of the internet, it remains the main source of information for people in the UK about what is happening in the world. However, it is IBT’s view that this content should not be provided only by news and current affairs which necessarily tend to focus on stories of disaster and conflict; it should also be provided through popular range of content which is engaging and entertaining.
- It is our view that the BBC needs to remain of a scale to be able to effectively deliver its mission. IBT is concerned that if the BBC’s income, currently provided by the licence fee, is undermined further, that it will not be able to produce a sufficient diversity of high quality content which engages us as a nation, for a mass audience across a range of platforms and genres, bringing us together and helping to create a national identity.
- IBT supports the public purposes as a framework for the BBC to deliver its mission: they help focus the BBC strategically and provide a basis upon which to analyse the BBC’s performance.
- While we would like to see both aspects of the global purpose retained in the next Charter, IBT would recommend that there should be a separation of the two aspects of this purpose because the existing purpose is confusing; it involves two completely different tasks and two completely different audiences which are fulfilled by different commissioning teams within the BBC.
- We question the suggestion in the Green Paper that audiences might be better served by a more narrowly-focussed BBC. We cannot see how this would be the case. It is only by being universal that the BBC provides social glue – unifying the population and providing content equally for all. If the BBC loses its universality this will be a precursor to a decline in the quality and quantity of international content available to us because with increased competition for viewers, content which is popular is likely to be prioritised.