John Whittingdale said it himself - there is evidence that the BBC drives up standards in the wider UK media landscape, but concerns that it has adverse impacts on commercial competitors.
So, in the Green Paper, setting out the arguments, the section on "Market Impacts" presents two - yes two positives, and five negatives. And the document is littered with "concerns" that are evidence-light. George Osborne, The Radio Centre, Sky and a number of newspapers will be chuffed.
"The BBC has 60 per cent of
the revenues of the radio sector in the
UK, for example, while its provision
of extensive free online content risks
impacting a wide range of players."
"Given the vast choice
that audiences now have there is an
argument that the BBC might become
more focused on a narrower, core set of
services that can continue to meet its
mission and objectives. A smaller BBC
could see the public pay less for their
TV licence and would also be likely to
have a reduced market impact".
"Is the expansion of the BBC’s
services justified in the context of
increased choice for audiences? Is
the BBC crowding out commercial
competition and, if so, is this
as the number
of television and radio channels grow and
the internet as a platform for television
and radio content matures, there are
counter arguments that the BBC does
not need to be providing such a broad
range of services in order to meet its
public service objectives."
budget for Radio 6 is £8 million compared
to the combined almost £87 million for
the arguably less distinctive Radio 1 and
2, while the BBC Trust has found that
its highest spending service BBC 1 has
the lowest score for ‘fresh and new’ of
its main channels."
"Questions have been raised
about whether content carried on the
BBC’s website is sufficiently distinctive
from content that can and is being
developed and delivered by others.
The growth of the internet as a medium
for consuming information is one of the
most notable developments over the
current Charter period; in this context the
challenge for the BBC will be in setting
itself apart from others in the online space
and potentially seeking to avoid providing
services such as, for example, recipes
where a range of other websites already
do so. "
content, the BBC’s dominant position
on speech radio, taken together
with the comparatively low quotas
for independent production, may
be constraining a small but vibrant
sector, which – as the recent New
York Festival’s International Radio
Programme Awards has shown –
delivers truly innovative content and
Someone should make Whittingdale go to the New York Festival. Nearly as prestigious as The Golden Sea Swallow of Knokke TV Festival.