BBC at a ‘crossroads’, says chief

Published: Monday 2nd March 2015 by The News Editor

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BBC boss Tony Hall will warn that reducing the impact the corporation can make will leave Britain “diminished” and “dominated by global gatekeepers and American taste-makers”.

The director general is expected to warn that the BBC is at “a crossroads”.

In a speech at New Broadcasting House in central London, he will say: ” Down one path lies a BBC reduced in impact and reach in a world of global giants. Damaging the UK’s creative industries.

“A sleep-walk into decay for the BBC, punching below its weight abroad, and Britain diminished as a result. Which means a UK dominated by global gatekeepers and American taste-makers.

“Down the other path is a strong BBC helping bind the country together at home and championing it abroad. A British creative beacon to the world. Providing a universal service for a universal fee. An internet-first BBC which belongs to everyone and where everyone belongs. A BBC celebrating its 100th birthday but with its best days ahead of it.”

He will also sketch out a vision for the corporation which he says will let the “a udience become schedulers”.

Using the corporation’s high-brow historical drama, Wolf Hall, as an example, he will say that using more personal data will allow the corporation to start “g uiding you to the best of the BBC’s content about the Tudors or radio shows about historical novels… The potential is huge to let our audience become schedulers.”

He will add: ” This is the start of a real transformation – the myBBC revolution. How to reinvent public service broadcasting through data. But we will always be doing it the BBC way – not telling you what customers like you bought, but what citizens like you would love to watch and need to know.”

The speech will also touch on last week’s select committee report that said the licence fee – which is not currently required to watch iPlayer – must be amended to cover “catch-up television as soon as possible”.

He will tell his audience: ” We’ve always said that the licence fee should be updated to reflect changing times.

“I welcome the committee’s endorsement of our proposal to make people pay the licence fee even if they only watch catch-up television. The committee has suggested another route to modernizing the licence fee – a universal household levy.

“Both proposals have the same goal in mind: adapting the licence fee for the internet age. This is vital. Because I believe we need and we will need what the licence fee – in whatever form – makes happen more than ever.”

Published: Monday 2nd March 2015 by The News Editor

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