representations from potential joint venture partners. This information has the potential to
be market sensitive, and is also commercially sensitive to the BBC and joint venture partners
since negotiations amongst potential joint venture partners are still in progress. Taking
account of these considerations, the Trust is satisfied that its description of the scale of the
BBC’s investment as modest and substantially below the levels requiring Trust approval is as
far as it can go in disclosing the cost of the potential joint venture.
Any steps taken by the BBC at this point to improve access and promote the take-up of
digital services will also have a beneficial impact at the point of Digital Switchover, reducing
any resources that may be required then tosupport those who will require assistance tocontinue viewing the BBC’s services. Although the take-up of digital TV is expected to
continue to grow, the market alone may be unable to deliver universal uptake. It is possible,
therefore, that without coordinated efforts, such as this proposition, penetration will fall
short of levels needed for analogue switch-off.
Overall conclusion on public valueWe have reviewed the material available to us, including the responses to the consultation,
which we consider provides a sound evidential basis for our conclusions on public value. We
have also taken into account generally the wider matters set out in these provisional
conclusions particularly in section 1 above addressing the best interests of licence fee payers.
Having considered all these matters and the individual elements identified above, applying the
Trust's duties under the Charter and the Agreement (particularly the duties in Article 23)
we have concluded there is significant public value in the “Freesat” proposition for licence
6.6. How the proposition fits with the BBC’s public service
We considered the proposal in the context of the BBC’s public service remit and of the
specific objectives set for BBC management by the Board of Governors which remain in
place. The objectives set in relation to driving digital take up in 2006/7 were to:
Ensure that BBC management prepares for digital switchover and drives the market for free-
to-air digital television, digital radio and new media whilst continuing to serve the needs of
the analogue-only audience by:
a.Raising awareness of how the BBC’s digital services add value to the overall portfolio;
b.Improving their availability; and
c.Working in partnership with the commercial sector to drive take-up.
The Charter and the Agreement set out a number of public service duties. In the Charter
these include the Public Purpose for the BBC of “promoting other purposes, helping to
deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services and,
Sunday, 10 February 2008
BBC TRUST DECIDE FREESAT FUTURE.
AS REPORTED BY THE BBC TRUST IN APRIL 2007.