Sunday 9 January 2011

How much entertainment is a public service?

Further to my previous posts regarding the BBC, I feel I should report the current standing. Last night I watched The Weather Man on Iplayer, I didn't personally think it was very good. I'm now watching The Men Who Stare at Goats. Filmfour (understandably) have to charge for you to watch films on their website. They cannot afford to do what the BBC does (and repeatedly complain about this, much to the ignorance of the left).

It cannot be denied that the BBC here is simply offering entertainment that could be provided by others. Why should people be forced to pay for The Incredibles, or any other entertainment for others? Before anyone complains that I am being hypocritical, seeing as I am forced to pay a TV licence, I feel the right to watch BBC programs (even though the vast majority of its programming is dreadful). If you looked at the total amount I have paid for TV licensing and the amount I would have to pay otherwise if I watched the equivalent programs, I would surely come out in deficit anyway.

But back to the point; why are the BBC buying out all of these films, removing the opportunity for other broadcasters to broadcast them and get the much needed viewers (from which they need to gain money)? Because they can. The BBC does not care if it drives everyone else out of the market, the market share for the BBC is going through the roof, and unlike Sky, you are forced to pay for it if you watch TV (and are always regarded as suspect if you don't). The BBC is, quite simply, irresponsible. If you want choice to still exist in a decade, the BBC needs to be axed, or at the very least, have a stronger charter enforced on it, leaving it with only the public service parts remaining. Another firm on the basis of Channel 4 could be set up if necessary to preserve the 'quality' services that do not fall under public services, but do away with TV licensing. Make them work for their money, like everybody else.

The Guardian continues to complain about Murdoch buying out the rest of Sky, but the BBC is still a much larger organisation (even by their own figures). If they really believed what they were on about over Guardian offices, they would also support breaking up the BBC. Alas, it seems more like an attempt to disable competitors that have different stances to the BBC and the Guardian. Double standards, methinks.

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