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Infinite Chaos

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The government has set out major changes to the way the BBC is to be run.
Here are some of the key points of Culture Secretary John Whittingdale's White Paper, as he outlined in the House of Commons: Link.

Hmm, I think a huge opportunity has been missed. Things I would like to have seen as the targets for the BBC - without going into the politics of Conservative / Labour meddling. I'm not so bothered about the BBC having


  1. Smaller size BBC focusing on higher quality programming. Less channels, less Radio Stations
  2. High quality education & dramatic programs aimed at a range of audiences but capable of competing with anything satellite broacasters can produce or buy. (Making programs for underserved audiences shouldn't mean lesser quality)
  3. Highest standard in Broadcast Journalism and impartiality in reporting - with external panels to review impartiality
  4. Website to focus on News and less on "magazine / lifestyle" articles.

Thoughts?
 

HonestJoe

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I think regardless of the specifics, the major barrier is that the idea of the BBC doing less but with higher quality and more focused output is that the audience share would inevitably drop (it’s cheap trash that brings in big numbers sadly). This would need to be clearly acknowledged and highlighted to counter inevitable attacks of the licence fee and the cost of the BBC in general (regardless of how it is funded) and I’d fear any apparent evasion of this could indicate attempts to set the BBC up for exactly that – give it impossible (and unspoken) targets to justify much more significant changes when it inevitably fails to meet them.
 

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Hmm, I think a huge opportunity has been missed. Things I would like to have seen as the targets for the BBC - without going into the politics of Conservative / Labour meddling. I'm not so bothered about the BBC having


  1. Smaller size BBC focusing on higher quality programming. Less channels, less Radio Stations
  2. High quality education & dramatic programs aimed at a range of audiences but capable of competing with anything satellite broacasters can produce or buy. (Making programs for underserved audiences shouldn't mean lesser quality)
  3. Highest standard in Broadcast Journalism and impartiality in reporting - with external panels to review impartiality
  4. Website to focus on News and less on "magazine / lifestyle" articles.

Thoughts?

I think Whittingdale has had to cut a lot of his most radical proposals for the BBC in the eye of a storm of popular outrage. Or maybe he never intended the sillier of his mooted proposals, such as telling BBC schedulers that they cannot counter-schedule against commercial rivals.

No one at the BBC will have any problem with embracing what Whittingdale said about diversity, innovation and impartiality. Those things have been requirements for the commissioning of major expenditure series for at least 20 years. The worrying thing about these proposals is Whittingdale's nod towards state control of the BBC, proposing that the government makes direct appointments to the new Board of Management. As Peter Kosminsky warns, that would mean that the BBC “drifts dangerously close to becoming a state broadcaster” rather than the traditional, and highly successful, public service broadcaster that the BBC has always been. It's very interesting and telling that a Conservative government would be the one seeking to limit media freedom rather than protect independence of expression.
 

Andalublue

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I think regardless of the specifics, the major barrier is that the idea of the BBC doing less but with higher quality and more focused output is that the audience share would inevitably drop (it’s cheap trash that brings in big numbers sadly).
Not entirely true. Wolf Hall and Great British Bake-Off had very similar audience figures. Great drama and great lifestyle programme are entirely compatible within the same generalist TV channel schedule.

This would need to be clearly acknowledged and highlighted to counter inevitable attacks of the licence fee and the cost of the BBC in general (regardless of how it is funded) and I’d fear any apparent evasion of this could indicate attempts to set the BBC up for exactly that – give it impossible (and unspoken) targets to justify much more significant changes when it inevitably fails to meet them.
I think that's true. You only have to listen to many of the Tory back-benchers (and Whittingdale himself before he was made CMS minister) to see that their agenda is driven almost entirely by an antipathy towards publicly-funded media per se.
 

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Not entirely true. Wolf Hall and Great British Bake-Off had very similar audience figures. Great drama and great lifestyle programme are entirely compatible within the same generalist TV channel schedule.
But mainstream drama and popularist “reality” shows are exactly the kind of thing some people say the BBC should be doing because they’re directly completing with the commercial channels with that (and it’s a matter of opinion whether Bake-Off falls in the category of cheap trash ;) ).
 

Andalublue

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But mainstream drama and popularist “reality” shows are exactly the kind of thing some people say the BBC should be doing because they’re directly completing with the commercial channels with that (and it’s a matter of opinion whether Bake-Off falls in the category of cheap trash ;) ).

Sorry Joe, I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Confusion caused by the bolded bits.
 

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~ the idea of the BBC doing less but with higher quality and more focused output is that the audience share would inevitably drop (it’s cheap trash that brings in big numbers sadly) ~

The BBC exports a lot of TV and that brings in sales which could counter the loss of audience by the BBC focusing on quality.

Certainly comparing the BBC licence fee against Sky's yearly subscription you see how Sky charges more and has less breadth and can thus compete or produce some of the latest and some pretty powerful drama. (yes and pay vast sums for TV coverage of sport)

Sky doesn't try and have the range of channels and radio stations - I think a lesson could be learned. If you produce stunning TV that caters to a wide range, you don't need to chase niche ethnic and diverse markets.
 

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The BBC exports a lot of TV and that brings in sales which could counter the loss of audience by the BBC focusing on quality.

Certainly comparing the BBC licence fee against Sky's yearly subscription you see how Sky charges more and has less breadth and can thus compete or produce some of the latest and some pretty powerful drama. (yes and pay vast sums for TV coverage of sport)

Sky doesn't try and have the range of channels and radio stations - I think a lesson could be learned. If you produce stunning TV that caters to a wide range, you don't need to chase niche ethnic and diverse markets.

Are you saying that the BBC ought to behave more like Sky? If not, what is that lesson to be learned?

Honestly, you cannot compare the quality of drama produced by the BBC and Sky; I'm pretty sure you weren't trying to, were you?
 

Infinite Chaos

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Are you saying that the BBC ought to behave more like Sky? If not, what is that lesson to be learned?

Thought that was clear in my post? Small and compact vs rambling and pleasing all audiences.

Honestly, you cannot compare the quality of drama produced by the BBC and Sky; I'm pretty sure you weren't trying to, were you?

You think Sky doesn't have some of the best new drama? Sky also has films at least 2 years before the BBC airs new film.
 

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I think Whittingdale has had to cut a lot of his most radical proposals for the BBC in the eye of a storm of popular outrage. Or maybe he never intended the sillier of his mooted proposals, such as telling BBC schedulers that they cannot counter-schedule against commercial rivals.

No one at the BBC will have any problem with embracing what Whittingdale said about diversity, innovation and impartiality. Those things have been requirements for the commissioning of major expenditure series for at least 20 years. The worrying thing about these proposals is Whittingdale's nod towards state control of the BBC, proposing that the government makes direct appointments to the new Board of Management. As Peter Kosminsky warns, that would mean that the BBC “drifts dangerously close to becoming a state broadcaster” rather than the traditional, and highly successful, public service broadcaster that the BBC has always been. It's very interesting and telling that a Conservative government would be the one seeking to limit media freedom rather than protect independence of expression.

I think the number of appointed persons is yet to be decided. I suppose once the number is mooted the government intention will be more clear;)
 

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Thought that was clear in my post? Small and compact vs rambling and pleasing all audiences.
So, what do you want to cut? Small and compact means that you cannot cater to everyone that is currently being catered to, yet they all pay the same licence fee. Tell us what 'small and compact' really means for you.

You think Sky doesn't have some of the best new drama?
It does, but it doesn't make it. It just buys it. Now I know it's done a few little projects such as the Mervyn Peake adaptations, but it really cannot be compared to the breadth of creative work the BBC produces.

Sky also has films at least 2 years before the BBC airs new film.
Well, that is something the BBC cannot spend large amounts of money on.
 

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I think the number of appointed persons is yet to be decided. I suppose once the number is mooted the government intention will be more clear;)

Maybe they have a kind of Russia Today-type service in mind. Time will tell.
 

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Hmm, I think a huge opportunity has been missed. Things I would like to have seen as the targets for the BBC - without going into the politics of Conservative / Labour meddling. I'm not so bothered about the BBC having


  1. Smaller size BBC focusing on higher quality programming. Less channels, less Radio Stations
  2. High quality education & dramatic programs aimed at a range of audiences but capable of competing with anything satellite broacasters can produce or buy. (Making programs for underserved audiences shouldn't mean lesser quality)
  3. Highest standard in Broadcast Journalism and impartiality in reporting - with external panels to review impartiality
  4. Website to focus on News and less on "magazine / lifestyle" articles.

Thoughts?

I enjoy media sources from various places abroad and the BBC is a huge resource ive enjoyed. But I do have to say that number 4.. less magazine/lifestyle articles is probably a good thing. that aspect of it can get almost tabloid.
I would hope that this is a open handed guide and not a clenched fist of control though.
 

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Maybe they have a kind of Russia Today-type service in mind. Time will tell.

That would be good. At least then we would get a crack down on left-populist drivel.
 

Infinite Chaos

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So, what do you want to cut? Small and compact means that you cannot cater to everyone that is currently being catered to, yet they all pay the same licence fee. Tell us what 'small and compact' really means for you.

~ If you produce stunning TV that caters to a wide range, you don't need to chase niche ethnic and diverse markets.

Explained previously? Please read my previous posts.

It does, but it doesn't make it. It just buys it. Now I know it's done a few little projects such as the Mervyn Peake adaptations, but it really cannot be compared to the breadth of creative work the BBC produces.


Sky dramas and global audience.


4 news dramas and 2 new films to be produced 2013

6 new Sky Dramas commissioned.

I think you are fixated on the Murdoch connection and not seeing that despite being part of the evil empire, they are doing stuff.

Well, that is something the BBC cannot spend large amounts of money on.

Yes... and it's making drama and film too and aiming to be a provider globally.
 

Andalublue

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Explained previously? Please read my previous posts.




Sky dramas and global audience.


4 news dramas and 2 new films to be produced 2013

6 new Sky Dramas commissioned.

I think you are fixated on the Murdoch connection and not seeing that despite being part of the evil empire, they are doing stuff.
I'm pretty sure I'd told you that I was a senior exec at Sky One for 3 years. Still got friends there and have no negative feelings about Sky at all, but you simply cannot compare Sky with the BBC. You think 6 new dramas in one year is extraordinary? The BBC produces that many per month.

Yes... and it's making drama and film too and aiming to be a provider globally.
Sure, they're doing well, but they are producing for a commercial, international market. The beauty of the BBC is that the domestic, licence-paying British viewer comes first. They really do. Okay, it was a long time ago now, but I have worked for the BBC, Sky, ITV, Discovery and C4 and I know the different programming cultures of those broadcasters. They all have value, but there's something unique about the BBC which is absolutely vital to preserve.
 

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I'm pretty sure I'd told you that I was a senior exec at Sky One for 3 years ~ Okay, it was a long time ago now, but I have worked for the BBC, Sky, ITV, Discovery and C4 ~

You told me a long time ago Andy, I haven't been unwittingly disagreeing with a TV exec that I wasn't aware of. You've been out for the last 10 years and the channel has changed quite drastically in this time. They don't just rely on diehard football and film fans; they have been expanding of late.

~ but there's something unique about the BBC which is absolutely vital to preserve.

That I can agree, what I can't agree is keeping the BBC exactly the same. You don't live here, subject to the daily drivel we are getting on the terrestrial channels. You haven't seen the huge expansion of freeview and free to air channels we have here. There is near 24 hours a day (including BBC channels) with at least 40 channels and very often - nothing worth watching.

Actually, ironically some of the channels are showing old BBC documentaries and they are pretty good. YOU are dipping your toes in a Spanish pool while I am here struggling with a BBC schedule light on quality. That includes BBC1, 2, Alba, 3 and 4 - not including BBC News 24 and BBC parliament and then all the radio stations.
 

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I enjoy media sources from various places abroad and the BBC is a huge resource ive enjoyed. But I do have to say that number 4.. less magazine/lifestyle articles is probably a good thing. that aspect of it can get almost tabloid.
I would hope that this is a open handed guide and not a clenched fist of control though.

The latter is the case. All kinds of dire threats were mooted, so that this announcement would appear less draconian than it might, but political and financial pressure is relentless.
 

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Sorry Joe, I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Confusion caused by the bolded bits.
There was a typo. I meant to say "the BBC shouldn't be doing".
 

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You told me a long time ago Andy, I haven't been unwittingly disagreeing with a TV exec that I wasn't aware of. You've been out for the last 10 years and the channel has changed quite drastically in this time. They don't just rely on diehard football and film fans; they have been expanding of late.
We never did rely on those things. That's not what Sky One ever was. It has changed, no doubt. When I left we were pulling a 4% audience share. Sky One now struggles to achieve 2%. If it were a public service channel that wouldn't be a problem , but given that Sky judges success according to a price-per-viewer algorithm, it's not so hot.

That I can agree, what I can't agree is keeping the BBC exactly the same. You don't live here, subject to the daily drivel we are getting on the terrestrial channels. You haven't seen the huge expansion of freeview and free to air channels we have here. There is near 24 hours a day (including BBC channels) with at least 40 channels and very often - nothing worth watching.
I get as much British TV as I want. I can see all those me-too channels that are stuffed with either ultra-low-cost original programming, first-run acquisitions of second-grade imports or second- or third-run repeats of first-grade imports. Making top-notch drama and documentary programming is expensive and not always cost-effective on a pure profit-loss basis. The UK is blessed by having a broadcaster that doesn't only have to balance decisions purely on the basis of that profit-loss nexus.

Actually, ironically some of the channels are showing old BBC documentaries and they are pretty good. YOU are dipping your toes in a Spanish pool while I am here struggling with a BBC schedule light on quality. That includes BBC1, 2, Alba, 3 and 4 - not including BBC News 24 and BBC parliament and then all the radio stations.
IC, live in the modern world. You and I have access to exactly the same media. I do dip my toe in the Spanish media pool. I listen to Spanish news radio every day. It's not too bad, but not a patch on Radio 4 or 5Live, I don't watch much Spanish TV other than the daily satirical show El Intermedio (The Intermission), which could teach British TV a bit about topicality. But my point is, if you're not that happy with what you're watching, go find something better. If you can't, that might tell you something about the relative quality of what British TV is offering you.
 

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...................I get as much British TV as I want.............
Sorry to interject, Andy (and IC). I'm way from up to date on reception opportunities down here by now. When Astra's foot print for UK completely rubbed out Southern Spain, my main concern was being overjoyed at not having the TV blocked by the wife heavily panting for the next Eastenders episode, so I never pursued alternatives.:roll:

With wife now having passed and me having moved house last summer I could have investigated but haven't come around to it yet.

So, question: How do you receive?

I know of (and sometimes use, bandwidth permitting) internet alternatives and have seen adverts down here by the usual Brit cowboys offering Satellite (again). What's actually out there?

Obviously not a pressing need but just BBC and Sky News (both the world versions) via a different Sat feed does get kind of "skinny" in the long run. Even where there's no buffering.
 

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~ The UK is blessed by having a broadcaster that doesn't only have to balance decisions purely on the basis of that profit-loss nexus.
~

Is this why we get things like "Strictly Come Dancing" extended? Not just the show which has now puffed out beyond all recognition with extended mini-movies before each dance (my daughter wants to dance) and then another follow up show on Sunday and then 5 half hourly weekday slots? Is this why we get not just masterchef but junior masterchef, celebrity masterchef etc etc

I could name more but I think you must think all this is marvellous TV.

We must get all that filler not because we have too many channels from an overstretched BBC but because we have a broadcaster to be proud of. :confused:
 

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Sorry to interject, Andy (and IC). I'm way from up to date on reception opportunities down here by now. When Astra's foot print for UK completely rubbed out Southern Spain, my main concern was being overjoyed at not having the TV blocked by the wife heavily panting for the next Eastenders episode, so I never pursued alternatives.:roll:

With wife now having passed and me having moved house last summer I could have investigated but haven't come around to it yet.

So, question: How do you receive?

I know of (and sometimes use, bandwidth permitting) internet alternatives and have seen adverts down here by the usual Brit cowboys offering Satellite (again). What's actually out there?

Obviously not a pressing need but just BBC and Sky News (both the world versions) via a different Sat feed does get kind of "skinny" in the long run. Even where there's no buffering.

I watch via the internet. I don't possess a TV. I watch via FilmOnTV or the BBC iPlayer.
 
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