I’ve been asked for my view – so here are the headlines:
What’s good -
- Agreed funding for at least 6 years
- Avoids a protracted and toxic debate on funding
- Avoided the confusion over purpose and additional bill of free licences for the over 75s
- 16% cut in real terms is do-able, but there will be hard and unpopular choices
- Right that the BBC takes some of the pain
- A World Service funded by the licence fee provides opportunites for efficiency savings and integration
What’s worrying -
- A compelling vision of the BBC’s role in the digital age will now have to be retro-fitted into a funding settlement. It should go the other way round.
- The BBC will need to “over-cut” in the early years to save funds for later investment in a rapidly developing media environment. Who knows what’s needed in 6 years time.
- Strategy on the hoof (which this seems to have been) often comes back to haunt those who live with the consequences
- The World Service is a small but precious gem at risk of being eroded by domestic priorities in BBC Licence fee budget rounds. The need for it, in a world of soft power, has never been greater.
- Licence fee payer support for services aimed at international audiences is questionable…
“Only time will tell”….