BBC director general argues against license fee reform

BBC director general Lord Hall has defended the contentious license fee by declaring it ‘ain’t broke’ in an argument against reform of the revenue model.

The intervention effectively sets out the corporations stall on reform of the system, ahead of formal negotiations with the government next year on how the broadcaster should be funded from 2017.

By ruling out introduction of an alternative funding mechanism, such as subscription, Hall is bracing for a showdown with ministers, particularly culture secretary Sajid Javid who has said he is prepared to countenance radical reform.

Defending the £145.50 fee to a House of Lords committee Hall said: “We believe it’s a system that ain’t broke. For 40p a day, everybody in this country can enjoy first class programmes and services. We are not in competition for revenue with Sky, ITV or Channel 4.

“What you get back from that is a broadcasting ecology that is the envy of the world.

“Do we think it needs amendments and modification? Yes. But if you get away from the licence fee and go down the subscription model, we will change the nature of what the BBC is about: brilliant programmes for everyone.”

Instead the BBC is pursuing an amendment to the license fee which would see it become mandatory for those accessing its services via iPlayer and other digital catch-up platforms.

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