September 21, 2020
Former MP Derek Wyatt thinks the BBC needs to evolve quickly in order to survive, while Don Keller says the broadcaster is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t
Can the BBC survive by opening up? | Letters
The BBC was the first port of call for news and entertainment from 1922 to 1992 (The Guardian view on the BBC: tough times ahead, 18 September). It failed to see the multi-channel environment heralded first by Sky. And though it was the model for the establishment of NHK in Japan, it failed to notice that this public broadcaster had moved from a BBC One and BBC Two offering – NHK1 and NHK2 – to additional offerings with two satellite channels. The BBC just continued to live off its licence fee without understanding the new ecology.
Now we are in the streaming environment, where again the BBC was late to the dancefloor, allowing Apple, Amazon Prime and YouTube to take the space. If it was supposed to be our centre of excellence for broadcasting, it has singularly failed. Why is it not possible to open areas of it up to independent production companies and not-for-profit players, by giving them the right to bid for, say, all of the drama or sport? The public’s money would not only be spent better, but opening up the BBC would also enhance its offering.
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