Reasons Not To Top-Slice #42 – 50

September 16, 2009

I was hoping to have one hundred reasons by the time the DCMS consultation on top-slicing ended on the 22nd September.

Serve me right for going on holiday.

So let’s wrap up this sucker with a brief recap and some new arguments.

1. Top-slicing the licence fee will not increase the amount of money spent on public service content.

2. In fact there may be less spent on content as there’ll have to be some kind of regulation, bureaucracy or red tape around it which will have to be paid for somehow.

3. Once the licence fee is top-sliced for one purpose the inevitable temptation for any government will be to keep top-slicing it to pay for… well whatever it fancies.

4. The “grants for outcomes” model leads to poor quality TV made without any sense of pleasing audiences in order to tick public policy boxes.

5. The BBC has sufficient size and scale to be able to maintain a distance from government and provide impartial, independent content. Any smaller organisation funded by public money might not have enough scale to keep its editorial independence. Again it will be focused on pleasing the person doling out the money, not the audience watching the programmes.

6. It feels like a sticking plaster solution to prop up a failing broadcasting model. What we need is some new ideas rather than plugging a gap with public money that the market seems no longer able to provide.

7. Licence fee payers don’t want it. (Depending of course on who you believe).

8.Top-slicing is unlikely to encourage the BBC to share more of its resources – which, in my humble opinion – is part of the solution to the problem in local news.

Don’t forget to send your views to the DCMS!


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