“The BBC cannot deliver content that appeals to everyone all the time,” said the report by the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee, which nonetheless noted the BBC’s various diversity initiatives as a positive element.
“Yet we continue to hear that the BBC does not represent widely held views in the UK, which often do not divide clearly along party political lines. “The legitimacy of a future funding model risks being undermined by dissatisfied audiences and declining viewing share.”
The appeal came days after the BBC’s annual report, which contained alarming audience figures showing that average BBC TV viewing fell by an hour a week last year and less than three-quarters of the UK population now uses the BBC, down 3 percentage points.
UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has ordered a review of the BBC’s license fee model – for which the majority of UK citizens pay an annual license fee of £159 ($188) – which could end with the replacement of this model when it expires in 2027, although the collapse of Boris Johnson’s government has left the scrutiny up in the air.
The Lords passionately urged the BBC to “use the debate over its future funding to address its challenges and seize the opportunity to generate momentum for change”.
“This will require clear and confident proposals from the BBC,” the report said.
This thinking is being applied by the top brains at BBC New Broadcasting House and chief executive Tim Davie said his team will publish the principles of a future funding model in the coming weeks.
The Lords considered several alternatives to the levy and concluded that the best would be a hybrid levy/subscription model or a progressive levy on households.
The former “would provide the BBC with the ability to maintain a wide range of quality programming without a steady increase in license fees,” the committee said, giving audiences the choice of whether or not to watch certain genres while core programming remains. universally accessible.
He did, however, signal “significant business risk with no guarantee of success”.
The universal household levy, meanwhile, has been touted as a “viable alternative” that should be means-tested to make it fairer than the current model, which is regressive because all citizens, regardless of their wealth, pay the same amount. The report published a link between the tax and council tax, which is paid by landlords and tenants.
The UK government will now scrutinize the Lords independent review and respond to the findings, although it is unclear when this will take place due to the current government chaos and upcoming summer holidays.