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Dr Matthew Hibberd University of Stirling and LUISS, Rome Hard Times for UK PSBs? What the BBC Can Learn from Channel 4's Revival.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Matthew Hibberd University of Stirling and LUISS, Rome Hard Times for UK PSBs? What the BBC Can Learn from Channel 4's Revival."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Matthew Hibberd University of Stirling and LUISS, Rome Hard Times for UK PSBs? What the BBC Can Learn from Channel 4's Revival

2 BBC: Hard Times? In June 2011, Lord Patten, newly appointed chairman of the BBC Trust, outlined his vision for the BBC in a number of meetings and speeches. "The BBC is one of the greatest broadcasting organisations in the world, but we aren’t living in easy times… and we have to show how we can run a PSB on £3.5bn a year."

3 Current Climate BBC is currently undergoing a thorough review of all its broadcasting activities. The Delivering Quality First review will see the BBC Trust and BBC Executive agree what can be saved through efficiencies and then see what service changes need to be made. The services most likely face cuts include digital channels developed in the post 1997 period following the advent of terrestrial digital TV.

4 Channel Four Remit “Channel 4 remains a vital source of the alternative and distinctive; a place that reflects the world around us, provokes debate and makes a difference.” David Abrahams, CEO, Channel 4.

5 Channel Four: Hard Times? Channel Four has fought back from economic decline with bigger advertising revenues in Responded to political criticism in that “amounts paid to former executives at Channel 4 had risen to ‘indefensible levels’ in recent years.”

6 How Did Channel Four Achieve This Transition? Reducing the size of the senior management by 25%. Ending Big Brother and other long-running shows. Opening up space to experiment and innovate. But Transition Imperfect: Programme Spend from Independent Producers Reduced One Year Results Inconclusive

7 BBC in 2011 “We know that people value the BBC's content. This year 80% of people said that they would miss the BBC if it wasn't there, while our programmes and services continued to reach 97% of UK adults. This is a tribute to the skills of those involved.” Lord Patten, 2011

8 New Licence Fee Settlement In October 2010 the BBC agreed a very tough fee settlement with the Government to freeze the licence fee until April 2017 and to take on new obligations. funding of BBC Monitoring, majority funding of S4C some support for local television news outside of the BBC. £150 million a year ring-fenced fund to support broadband rollout. funding of the BBC World Service. £1.2bn extra obligations by 2015.

9 Delivering Quality First Managing cuts in core funding 20 per cent savings over the four years to April 2017 Consultation on how the Corporation can best “deliver the highest quality programmes and content to audiences to the end of the Charter in 2017.”“deliver the highest quality programmes and content to audiences to the end of the Charter in 2017.

10 What the BBC Should Do? Key Options For Public Consultation Due in October 2011 Main Hopes: Defending Core Services, Avoiding ‘Amputations’ News, Drama, Music, Factual, Children, World Service Across Range of Digital Channels Reducing Non Core Elements: Imported, Formats “Bearing Down on Executive Pay” Keep BBC 3 and BBC4 Why?

11 Maggie Brown, Guardian, 1September 2011 “Look at the overall performance of the four terrestrial public service broadcasters, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. They have achieved, in the past year or so, a remarkable but little trumpeted act of consolidation, stabilising their total share of viewing, instead of constantly ceding ground to multichannel broadcasters... For the first time since the (OFCOM) survey began in 2003, the overall audience share of the heritage broadcasters held steady at 71%. This was achieved by adding the growing 17% of viewing taken by their digital channels – including BBC3, BBC4, ITV2, E4 and 5USA – to the 54% share of the five main terrestrial networks. It has taken more than a decade for the PSBs to work out successful strategies to counter audience fragmentation, but they have arrived, though admittedly at vastly different speeds and routes.”

12 Conclusion BBC still suffering negative publicity (executive pay, cuts, etc). Delivering Quality First offers chance to refocus effort on key PSB ideals. Channel 4 is a very different broadcaster with different aims, etc. However, it has gained some critical approval for difficult decisions – refocusing strategy, cutting management costs. The BBC will make its own decisions following publication of Delivering Quality First. But changes at other broadcasters, including Channel 4, can help inform those changes.


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