Why should the licence fee payer fund the BBC’s cultural imperialism?

22 May 2014

Picture the scene. BBC executives convene in a glass think pod in Salford to consider the latest expensive external report commissioned by Director of News James Harding. The report states that Auntie, despite its vast budget and massive staff, is ‘punching well below its weight in the digital world.’

That was what Sir Howard Stringer’s report, published today, found. The fact that Buzzfeed gets 10 million more pageviews than the Beeb every month seems to be a particularly sore point:

Given Buzzfeed, for example, was only founded in 2006, this raises the question of why the BBC’s global digital reach is not more significant. It is impossible to escape the conclusion that the BBC is punching well below its weight in the digital world.

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Stringer’s report was flooded with ‘bold’ and ‘innovative’ plans so that the BBC can ‘reach’ an online audience online of half a billion people around the world.

What Mr S can’t work out is why the licence fee payer should fund this cultural imperialism? Aren’t there improvements to be made closer to home that, you know, might benefit the licence fee payer? And why does the BBC feel compelled to compete with Buzzfeed? An organisation, which, I might add, has won global success by using nothing more than private money and popular support; no levies and court threats for them.

These questions never even enter the minds of executives at the BBC. To them Mr S says this: the clue’s in the corporation’s name.

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Show comments
  • Kevin T

    James Purnell was on Newsnight a few months ago trumpeting the BBC’s idea to compete with Shazam, the smartphone app that can “listen” to any song and tell you the artist and track. What that has to do with the Beeb’s remit I can only guess. Why don’t they try and make their own Angry Birds while they’re at it?

    I would guess the BBC’s obsession with beefing up their online presence is to make it seem more justifiable when they ask parliament to change their funding to an internet tax (as has already been done in Ireland and Sweden) so they can catch everyone currently watching for free on iplayer. Not to mention all the people who don’t watch scheduled TV at all since there are now a thousand other entertainment options. The Beeb will claim most people using the internet are looking at their BBC sites and apps. We need to be ready to fight them on this.

  • Fraser Bailey

    I’ve never given them a penny either, I’m pleased to say. Largely because I threw the TV out years ago when I realized what disgusting organization it is. Nor do I watch on iPlayer or whatever it’s called. Largely because even the so-called ‘good’ stuff is rubbish, by any rational standards.

    I wouldn’t mind paying a 5License for the football commentaries.

  • MikeF

    The BBC is obsessed with its own perception of itself. The opening credits of its news bulletins say it all – just winsome shots of BBC reporters speaking to camera in all sorts of exotic locations. It is no longer fit for purpose and should be broken up.

  • lojolondon

    Speak to your friends around the world. They watch CNN, RTN and Al Jazeera, because that is journalism. The BBC reporters are too far from the action and too politically correct to provide the news. Or try it for yourself – when a major incident happens, like the Malaysian airliner missing, check the news channels and you will see that the BBC gives copies of other people’s news, and photos from libraries, while the other reporters are barging in places and doorstepping people.
    The website again is sanitised to the point where it doesn’t say anything. Al Jazeera will say ‘Muslim terrorists attacked xxxx’, the B-BBC will lead with ‘Unconfirmed media reports indicate that an attack has taken against xxxx by as yet unidentified agents’.

    Way overdue to cut the TV Tax.

  • McRobbie

    They have so much of our money they have to find a way to justify the continued high fee. Anyone who thinks its cheap and value for money doesn’t look at what we get for our bucks and should compare it with sky or virgin etc..£140 a year for fewer than 10 radio and TV channels of variable and falling quality is not value for money in comparison

  • The Masked Marvel

    Someone needs to inform Mr S about BBC Worldwide.

  • Andy

    BBC should be broken up. As it is an effective Monopoly in broadcast news provision with 70% + of the market it abuses its position and if it would be unacceptable for a private provider to have such market share then it is equally unacceptable, and a huge danger to democracy, to allow a state broadcaster to have such concentration of power.

  • sfin

    My proudest boast is that I have never given a penny, in licence fees, to this instrument of left wing propaganda – even when I had a television.

    Come and arrest me.

    I’ll fight you.

    • asalord

      All power to you, sfin.
      The reputation of the unionist BBC in Scotland is beyond repair.
      More and more people in Scotland are refusing to pay the licence fee.

      • sfin

        Whilst we are on opposite sides of that particular debate! I applaud all our noble, conservative scots – who have contributed to world civilisation, out of all proportion to their numbers – for thinking the same way that I do!

    • John

      Never paid a penny either myself. Not so much a source of pride, just a really great saving in the 25 years since I left home.

    • Kaine


      • sfin

        I’ve just added up the total amount of time I spent on active service as a military helicopter pilot for what, now, passes for a country…7 years 2 months out of a total of 26 years served…It cost me my marriage and my family.

        The French have a very good expression – “J’ai assez donné” (“I’ve given enough”) – it sums up everything I now believe, with regards to paying for being a British citizen.

        You can call me what you like – I would suggest that “Skiver” is widely inaccurate.

        • laurence

          Thank you.

          • sfin

            Your servant sir.

        • Kaine

          Which if true, though I highly doubt what anonymous people say on the internet, has sod all relevance to your decision to wilfully break the law and steal a service other people pay for.

          • Sapporo

            No, it makes you look a total w****r, which I think was pretty well established already.

          • Kevin T

            When did he say he watched TV?

        • Ray Veysey

          Army or Navy ?

          • 5050noline

            Nothing so dangerous as a Pongo with an aircraft, or a Fishead with a rifle. Crabs do it with both hands.

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