The BBC and PSB
The BBC has been reassured that it will continue to play a major part in how public service broadcasting (PSB) develops in the UK.
It follows media speculation that Ofcom’s PSB consultation would result in the corporation losing part of its licence fee to fund other broadcasters.
Some commentators said this ‘top-slicing’ would then force the BBC to slash the amount of PSB programming it makes each year.
But Ofcom Partner, Strategy and Market Development, Peter Phillips, says that reducing the BBC’s ability to make PSB programmes is not an option.
'Top-slicing not an option'
Writing in the BBC’s in-house journal Ariel, he says that the broadcaster will continue to be the cornerstone of public service broadcasting in the UK.
But he explains the way the system is funded needs to change and replacement funding will also have to be found.
There are several possible sources of extra funding.
One option is to use part of the licence fee currently earmarked to help fund the switchover to digital TV.
Around £130 million of the licence is currently used for this each year – and could be used as replacement PSB funding once the analogue signal is switched off in 2012.