The BBC is a great British institution, admired the world over for its high quality content. Not only does it provide world-class domestic programming and journalism, but helps projects British influence abroad. Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, called the BBC World Service "perhaps Britain's greatest gift to the world" in the 20th century. It's crucial the Charter Review helps the BBC maintain this high level of service.
The Government last ran a Charter Review 10 years ago, when the media landscape looked very different. Since then, the growth in online viewing and subscription channels have radically changed media. Today, for example, 62 per cent of all programmes accessed online are watched using the BBC's iPlayer - a significant change from a decade ago. Watching recorded programmes on iPlayer does not require a Television Licence. Therefore, it's important the Charter Review reflects these sorts of changes to allow the BBC to remain successful in a modern media environment.
That's why this Charter Review needs to ask hard questions. These include what the BBC should be trying to achieve in an age of extensive consumer choice, what the scale and scope of its programming should be, how far the BBC affects other broadcasters and online platforms and what the right structures are for the BBC's governance and regulation. It's important we tackle these difficult questions now to safeguard the BBC's future.
The BBC is a national institution, paid for by the public. It will have spent more than £30 billion of public money over the current Charter period. The Government recently set out a consultation (closing 8th October 2015) which marks the start of the Charter Review process. It's important everyone has their say on the future of the BBC and what people think the Corporation is doing well or badly. If you have not already, you may wish to respond to the consultation (link below) to ensure your views are heard.
This consultation is the first step in an open and thorough Charter Review. It will inform the Government's review of the BBC and how we can ensure the Corporation remains strong, but also up-to-date with rapid changes in viewing habits and technologies.