Li­cence fee needs re-think­ing COM­MENT

Daily Express - - News - John o’Connell

MOST fam­i­lies will be look­ing for­ward to set­tling down to watch the box this Christ­mas, but might be dis­ap­pointed to find that they’ve seen it all be­fore.

No one minds a re-run of a clas­sic film or an episode of Only Fools And Horses, but when there is so lit­tle orig­i­nal con­tent at this time of year, li­cence fee pay­ers might be feel­ing a bit short-changed over the fes­tive pe­riod.

With so much choice at our fin­ger­tips, it stands to rea­son that fam­i­lies will switch over and watch some­thing else on the many stream­ing plat­forms avail­able.

There has never been such a vast se­lec­tion of TV choices for those seek­ing a bit of fes­tive en­ter­tain­ment and all at a time of our choos­ing.

The BBC still makes ex­cel­lent pro­grammes. Any­one watch­ing David At­ten­bor­ough’s lat­est Sun­day night of­fer­ing will at­test to that.

But given the high cost of a li­cence, fee pay­ers might ex­pect the Christ­mas sched­ule to be chock-a-block with new and ex­cit­ing pro­grammes.

Un­for­tu­nately not – and it un­der­lines an ex­is­ten­tial prob­lem with the li­cence fee it­self.

It’s clear that the BBC must re­form its fee model to sur­vive into the fu­ture.

What’s more, the cor­po­ra­tion should be in­vest­ing money in high qual­ity pro­gram­ming that the com­mer­cial sec­tor might avoid, in­stead of try­ing to com­pete with their own big­bud­get, bells and whis­tles shows that could eas­ily be made by other sta­tions.

When Bri­tish fam­i­lies sit down in front of the telly af­ter a slap-up Christ­mas lunch, they de­serve more for their li­cence fee than a re-run of the pro­grammes they paid for many, many years ago.

The Good Life and Por­ridge, in­set, are among the Christ­mas re­peats

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