The new director general for the BBC, Tim Davie, has said that he doesn’t support any switch from the current licence fee system to a new subscription service for the national broadcaster
The TV licence fee that funds the BBC is currently guaranteed until the year 2027, but there is at the moment, a debate about the BBC’s funding beyond then.
In his first official speech since taking over the country’s public service broadcaster, Tim Davie said that such a change “would make us just another media company” that would serve only “the few”.
He went on to tell his staff that there must be “a radical shift in our focus” to insure that everyone in the nation gets value from the licence fee payment.
This comes after the online retail giant Amazon has said that it will create a further 7,000 jobs in the UK this year to meet the growing demand of its services, it will be taking its total permanent UK workforce to over 40,000 employees.
He warned that the BBC is currently facing a “significant risk” and has “no inalienable right to exist”.
He said: “If current trends continue, we will not feel indispensable enough to all our audience. We must evolve to protect what we cherish.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, I do not want a subscription BBC that serves the few,” Davie said during the speech in Cardiff.
“We could make a decent business out of it, and I suspect it could do quite well in certain postcodes, but it would make us just another media company serving a specific group.”
Describing the BBC as “a brilliant national success”, he said: “We all recognise when someone says, ‘I would pay my licence fee for Radio 4, for Strictly, or for the website’.”
“But this kind of connection is under pressure and cannot be taken for granted. Across the UK, across all political views, across all of society, and across all age groups, people must feel their BBC is here for them, not for us.”
He said that these goals would not be achieved by beating their rivals at their own game, while also being “more rather than less BBC, more distinctive, and committed to our unique public service mission”
This comes after the French President, Emmanuel Macron, has defended his citizens’ rights to freedom of speech. The leader’s remarks came as the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, the target of a massacre by terrorists in 2015, announced that it was republishing the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
“It is not simply about left or right. This is more about whether people feel we see the world from their point of view. Our research shows that too many perceive us to be shaped by a particular perspective.”
He added: “If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC.”