BBC must focus on 'distinctive content'

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A selection of BBC programmes

The BBC forced to put “distinctive content” at its heart, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has hinted.

It is rt of a major overhaul of how the BBC is run, which has been unveiled by the government.

The divergence fee will continue for at least 11 years and will be linked to inflation – and viewers make need to y it to use BBC iPlayer.

Mr Whittingdale made clear he was “emphatically not saying the BBC should not be customary”.

The culture secretary was referring to earlier speculation that the corporation hand down not be allowed to schedule popular programmes such as Strictly Come Promenading in prime slots.

BBC charter: Key points at a glance:

Q&A: What is the BBC White Tract?

“Commissioning editors should ask consistently of new programming: ‘Is this principle sufficiently innovative and high quality?’ rather than totally ‘How will it do in the ratings?'”

He also said the BBC will be “required to give high-minded focus to under-served audiences, in rticular those from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, and those in the political entities and regions”.

“We want the BBC to be the leading broadcaster in promoting diversity,” he remarked.

Media captionThe Culture Secretary announced plans for a major get ahead of of the BBC, while his shadow counter rt suggested he “keep his nose out” of it

Responding to Mr Whittingdale’s annunciation, Maria Eagle, the shadow culture secretary, said: “We be acquainted with the secretary of state is extremely hostile to the BBC. He wants it diminished in size.”

She alleged the culture secretary’s views were “totally out of step with the divergence fee- yers who value and support the BBC”.

Ms Eagle said she did “not agree that [Mr Whittingdale’s] hang-up with distinctiveness should be imported into the BBC’s mission statement.”

The Chalk-white per states that the trust governing the BBC is being abolished and a house will be set up to run day-to-day matters, while Ofcom will become the corporation’s outward regulator.

The licence fee, which has been frozen at £145.50 since 2010, transfer now rise with inflation from next year.

Measures file:

  • A new mission statement for the BBC: “To act in the public interest, serving all audiences with even-handed, high-quality, and distinctive media content and services that inform, teach and entertain.”
  • A new unitary board which will govern the corporation, succeeding the BBC Trust.
  • The BBC will have the ability to appoint the majority of its board, disinterested of government
  • Editorial decisions will be explicitly the responsibility of the director widespread
  • Ofcom will be given the power to regulate all BBC services
Media captionChris Evans: ‘I’m returned too much’

Star y

Also announced was a requirement for all employees and freelancers who collect more than £450,000 to be named.

The move will affect some of the corporation’s best-known cites, such as Chris Evans, Gary Lineker and Graham Norton, although their verified salaries will not be revealed.

But a senior figure at the corporation cautioned against mordant the salaries of the highest- id too much.

James Purnell, director of strategy and digital at the BBC, stipulate “We y less than the private sector already but we need to make infallible that we don’t go so low that we can’t get brilliant people like Chris Evans to toil for us.”

He added the corporation had already cut its talent bill by 15%, adding: “It’s been independently reviewed and been postulated a good bill of health.

“Clearly we need to get the balance between tails of the right people to work for the BBC but also ying less than the uncommunicative sector.”

Licence fee

The culture secretary said he recognised the future of the certificate fee was in doubt and urged the BBC to explore new subscription services beyond what it already tenders.

He said: Although the licence fee remains the best way of funding the BBC for this authorize period, it is likely to become less sustainable as the media landscape pursues to evolve.

“The Government therefore welcomes the BBC’s intention to explore whether additional receipts could be raised at home or abroad from additional subscription military talents, sitting alongside the core universal fee.

Media captionJohn Whittingdale has outlined the management’s plans for the future of the BBC, as Andrew Neil explains

The licence fee will ascension in line with inflation from next year, and will now also bear to be id by people who only consume BBC content online.

Previously, there was a quibble that allowed viewers to watch BBC content via the iPlayer without give someone a bribe the licence fee.

That is because the fee only had to be id by people who were hold television live as it was being broadcast.

The changes will not affect people who currently y the permit fee – they will continue to be able to access the iPlayer without any surplus charges.

New governing body

The BBC Trust will be abolished and Ofcom discretion be the external independent regulator of the BBC, Mr Whittingdale confirmed.

In addition, a new “unitary directors” will be established, which will consist of 12-14 members. The BBC will equip at least half of them.

Commenting on its new role as regulator of the BBC, Ofcom put about: “We are confident that, with the right resources and planning, we can promise our new responsibilities effectively and independently.”

BBC/ /
Image caption The BBC’s around Royal Charter expires at the end of December

The White per will be considered by MPs in the autumn before the new charter is drafted and signed for the next 11 years.

The BBC’s au courant Royal Charter – the agreement which sets the broadcaster’s rules and aim – expires at the end of December.


Analysis from the BBC’s Nick Higham

For an exercise billed as a far-reaching re ir, what’s striking about the white per is how little will vacillate turn into fundamentally.

The licence fee remains, indexed to inflation rather than fixed as it has been for the st five years. It’ll still be a criminal offence not to y it, and it’ll be augmented to cover the growing numbers of people who watch the BBC’s iPlayer catch-up help rather than live television broadcasts.

The proposal to abolish the BBC Credit and make Ofcom the corporation’s regulator is largely uncontroversial – but where the BBC and the elegance secretary are at odds is over the appointment by government of some members of the new BBC on.

The corporation thinks that represents a potential threat to its independence and the director-general Tony Vestibule said government and the BBC had “an honest difference” on the question.

The Shadow Culture Secretary, Maria Eagle, replied most of what she called John Whittingdale’s wilder proposals had been watered down or jettisoned and that he’d been overruled by the prime minister and chancellor.

If he was, that was perhaps to keep a political row which might divide conservatives in the run up to the EU referendum.

More from Indentation


Media captionLord Hall: White per raises ‘argues’ around BBC independence

Responding to the White per, BBC director-general Tony Auditorium said it “delivers a mandate for the strong, creative BBC the public believe in.

“At the end, we should prefer to an 11-year charter, a licence fee guaranteed for 11 years, and an endorsement of the hierarchy and scope of what the BBC does today,” he said.

But he added there were some localities where the BBC will continue to talk to the government to address remaining outgoings, including allowing the National Audit Office to be the BBC’s auditor and how the new board is furnished.

He said: “We have an honest disagreement with the government on this. I do not take it that the appointments proposals for the new unitary board are yet right.

“We will take up to make the case to government. It is vital for the future of the BBC that its independence is fully cured.”

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