Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, CHJ, Noel, Charley

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By AndyT
Suggestions so far seem mostly to hit the problem that just to carry on with what they get now, some groups of viewers would have to pay more than at present.
That's the opposite of all the previous upgrades (625 lines for BBC2, colour, digital for C5 and other extra channels) where most people willingly bought into the new technology.

But I see in the news today that Julian Knight, chair of the committee tasked with sorting this all out, has noticed that there are some technical challenges - perhaps he's been reading this thread!

Despite calls from some quarters for the BBC to become a Netflix-style subscription service, Knight said the idea of moving the corporation straight to a subscription service was “for the birds” given the technical challenges of putting still-popular television and radio channels behind a paywall.
By Rorschach
What Julian Knight isn't acknowledging though is that it is already behind a paywall, but one that people are forced to pay whether they want it or not. The technical challenge is making it fairer.
By Duncan A
I'm the last person to defend the BBC's "wokeness" and "news lite" reporting but many of the arguments around the licence fee revolve around the public service element, rather than technical issues.
If we accept that the BBC is to remain independent, accepting advertising becomes a can of worms. If your biggest advertiser is guilty of misdeeds, would Panorama be free to run an exposé?
The purpose of the licence fee is to remove the temptation to give in to commercial pressures and to distance the BBC from political interference. The latter is not entirely effective but it does work up to a point.
Perhaps the main discussion to be had is really whether we want a broadcaster that is more or less free of outside influences and pressures - it can never be entirely impartial as the people who work there have to make value judgements to please everybody. Impossible.
Hope this doesn't turn into another BBC thread; nothing in the above is meant to be controversial, just food for thought.
Interesting discussion.

Personally I have the feeling from past experience both from my times of living inside and outside the UK, that output from the Beeb goes in "waves" - for a few years Beeb output is generally fine to excellent (IMO), but then we have a few years when Beeb output has really deteriorated.

BUT as ever, that's very largely a matter of personal taste I think - e.g. at present BBC TV has very little that I want to watch (again IMO, they need more programmes like the RNLI documentary "Saving Lives at Sea") but as above, "they'll get better output generally in a year or so".

I'm not so happy with BBC Radio 4 these days - compared with a few years back - but again "it'll get better again" I think, and it remains my No.1 radio listen.

Personally I never objected to paying the licence fee, and again, purely IMO, the Beeb is generally no where near as bad as it's often painted (though I DO agree about inflated salaries, differences between male & female salaries, and too many non-productive managers). (And as a silly aside, I'm madly in love - in ALL respects - with Laurra Kuensberg, BBC TV Political correspondent)!

Anyway, I don't pay the UK Licence fee here of course - I, and everyone else here pays the Swiss equivalent, which just like so many other things here, is VERY expensive - roughly double your £160 pa!

And throughout all my "world roaming" I've seldom (never?) come across anything as good as the Beeb in general terms

Just my take though.

And judging by this thread, there seem to be loads of UK residents who've clearly had enough of the present system. But how to fix it so that even the (apparent) majority are satisfied again? Sorry, no idea!

P.S. Agree 100% with Duncan A above about "politics" - this thread should NOT IMO become a political rant - "So far so good" (as the bloke who jumped off the top of the Empire State Building was heard to say). :D
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By RogerS
Isn't the solution already here ? If you want to watch the BBC off-air then pay the licence. If you don't and Netflix does it for you then stream it and remove your aerial.
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By RogerS
ColeyS1 wrote:Say if you want to watch the other channels but not pay through the teeth for the bbc content ?

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk

Most of it is streamable, isn't it ?
I've got another point (Swiss) to add to the above debate. This MAY be applicable to UK-based members , today (?) or in the future.

This is currently Swiss "breaking news" today and is now creating a major uproar here.

Some time back in the 60s or 70s, a Swiss bloke founded a company called Crypto AG to make electro-mechanical encryption/decryption machines, much smaller and lighter than the famous WWII German Enigma machines, but also "better"/more secure. Sometime later he died in a road accident (accident or not??? - see below) and his son took the company over.

The company has had great success and sold this machine to companies world-wide, amongst others, in S. America, Far & mid East - not only for commercial companies but also for military services, Embassies, and other "official" institutions in those countries.

BUT, at the time of the son's company takeover and the introduction of a new Chief Engineer, it "seems" that both the Swiss and German secret services AND the CIA somehow or other got involved in ownership/running of the company. Since that takeover, there's been a "backdoor" into the encryption of all those machines, and if you were in the Swiss, German, or American secret services, you could decode everyone's "secret" messages.

Back in the 1980's some Sales Engineer from Crypto had sold these machines to Iran and he was subsequently imprisoned and tortured. Though he was subsequently released and returned to Switzerland he was then immediately sacked by Crypto. Throughout his period of imprisonment and on his return, he claimed that he had no idea there was a "backdoor" into the machine. A "serious investigation" was started by the police but just quietly fizzled out some time later.

Then followed a story in the Washinghton Post about a week ago saying that Crypto AG machines were regularly monitored by the CIA and others.

In the equivalent of the BBC panorama programme on Swiss TV just v2 nights ago, all sorts of people were interviewed, including that "new" Chief Engineer from the 1970s.

He claimed that the imprisoned employee definitely did NOT know anything at all bout the machine's "backdoor" and that the evidence he gave to the police at the time of the enquiry was never asked to be repeated as formal evidence in a court, nor was he asked to put anything in writing. He further claimed that the equivalent of the Swiss PM at the time MUST have known about the "backdoor", if not in detail, at least in principle. The Chief Engineer also claimed that at the time of the UK/Argentine Falklands war, the UK had received secret info via the CIA on the then current Argentine war plans - Argentine had bought the Crypto machines some time before.

That programme also interviewed several past and present Swiss politicians, including the above bloke who was PM at the time, and (surprise surprise) all of whom agreed that it was "all absolutely shocking and awful but none of them did know then or do now know anything at all about it! AND also, based on Washington Post info, the above TV programme also claimed that the Crypto original founder's road accident (above) wasn't an accident at all but had been "engineered" by "someone".

So far so good one might say, and typical of journalists going off at (mostly) half-cock - and typical of so many awful scandals and conspiracy scandals that you hear from time to time just about everywhere.

But now to the (possible?) crunch as far as this thread is concerned:

The above Panorama-like Swiss TV programme was broadcast on SRF Channel 1 TV (BBC 1 equivalent) and is "owned" by SRG. SRG is a government funded and supposedly independent "company", with all/most funds coming from the Swiss TV licence fee, though there IS some advertising money and I think also some "private" money in SRG too.

But they claim they are most definitely independent.

So imagine the uproar in today's papers and radio when the Director of SRG said in an interview today that there will be NO more programmes of any sort about Crypto on Swiss (SRG) radio or TV.

Like UK though, we do have private TV and radio stations, so we'll see what happens.

Regarding the BBC though, apart from being a "consumer" of their programmes, I have no real info about the reality of the BBC's environment in today's UK.

Call me naïve if you like, but I just cannot imagine the BBC apparently bowing to some "backroom government pressure" and cancelling any programmes like that described above.

So whatever you and your politicians all decide about the BBC (like Brexit, I have no say whatever in the matter) just "be careful what you wish for"!

By Terry - Somerset
We need to decide what model we want for the BBC - it could be a mixture:

- free to air and largely unchanged
- mix of free to air, subscription/advertising, world service role
- completely free of government or taxpayer funding

We then need to decide how it is funded in each model - possibly a mixture of TV licence as at present, as public expenditure grant from Treasury, by viewer subscription, by advertising and sponsorship

Radical changes to almost anything will not keep everybody happy - it depends on age, technology, perceptions of current output etc. Note that other free to air broadcasters will not stop if the BBC stops - it may even help expand programming by slowing the reduction of advertising revenues.

We simply need to plan any transition to allow people reasonable time to adapt - then it's just tough! (I know this is unsympathetic, but otherwise nothing will ever change)

My own take on the issue is:

- TV licence is an outdated historical legacy and should be scrapped
- the best of BBC (probably 25-30% of output) should be funded centrally
- foreign office to directly fund world service and similar
- merits of a state broadcaster independent of external commercial pressures
- balanced by the risk of a state broadcaster delivering propaganda
- other programming sinks or swims depending on commercial profitability

Any transition to be over a period of several years (5-8?) so that staff, contracts etc etc can be sorted as harmoniously as possible.
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By RogerS
AES wrote:....
Call me naïve if you like, but I just cannot imagine the BBC apparently bowing to some "backroom government pressure" and cancelling any programmes like that described above.


Well, the one programme that immediately comes to mind is the 1965 BBC programme " The War Game". That was pulled due to Govt pressure.
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By RogerS
Terry - Somerset wrote:....
- the best of BBC (probably 25-30% of output) should be funded centrally

Who decides 'the best' ? And how do they decide ? On what criteria ?

Out of curiosity, which three programmes would you put in 'the Best'.
Don't remember that one, sorry Roger S. But what about the BBC (and ITV) publicity going on at present in UK re the "unnecessary" baby deaths in E-Kent?

AND, to be fair, if you need to go back to 1965 to find an example, does that not more or less "prove" what I think I know about the BBC?

By Blackswanwood
RogerS wrote:
Terry - Somerset wrote:....
- the best of BBC (probably 25-30% of output) should be funded centrally

Who decides 'the best' ? And how do they decide ? On what criteria ?

Out of curiosity, which three programmes would you put in 'the Best'.

In our house there would never be agreement on the answer to that last question!

I think the BBC have an impossible job - they are bound by the Royal Charter and get the blame for a funding model that has been imposed on them.

Peaky Blinders, The Night Manager and McMafia are three that I would list as amongst their best and worth paying for.
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By RogerS
AES wrote:Don't remember that one, sorry Roger S. Well worth watching. I'd forgotten all about it and saw it in the cinema. Never have I seen an audience leave the cinema virtually silent and shell-shocked. Even now,just thinking about it sends a shiver down my spine.

AES wrote:But what about the BBC (and ITV) publicity going on at present in UK re the "unnecessary" baby deaths in E-Kent?

I can't comment as I never watch the news.