Saturday, 22 February 2020

Competition The Best Stimulus

The Gummint Does Not Do It Best

Decades ago the government in New Zealand dumped its broadcasting tax.  Some public funding remained for a few public-sector broadcasters.  It is high time these subsidies also went the way of the Dodo.  

But if New Zealand's state-funded broadcasting system needs the kiss of death, the situation is far more desperate in the UK.  In that country, public broadcasting is sustained by a tax on every TV.  How quaint.  How stupid.
Culture secretary Nicky Morgan has warned that the BBC could go the way of Blockbuster — becoming a total irrelevancy and going bust — unless it evolves.

Baroness Morgan made the remarks as her department launches a consultation on decriminalising payment of the licence fee which funds the British Broadcasting Corporation, saying  “accountability and value for money must be at the heart of how the BBC is funded”.

The TV tax is compulsory for anyone who watches live or records live television or uses BBC iPlayer. Payment is mandatory even if you watch live programming on a computer, phone, or other device and even if you watch live television from other providers but do not watch BBC programming at all.  [Breitbart London]
It is not just that when broadcasting is funded by a state imposed tax the quality of programming declines.  It also is the case that the content inevitably becomes more and more statist.  Programmes reflect this dependency by endorsing the State's growing involvement in society.   Moreover, the funds that flow to the State broadcaster become wastefully spent.

The current licence is protected by Royal Charter until 2027 and provides the broadcaster with £3.7 billion a year in revenue. Despite the rising cost of the TV tax, the BBC announced last week that it would be axing 450 jobs in its news services in an attempt to save £80 million by 2022.

This is not the first time that the BBC has been told to evolve or die. Viewing figured revealed last year that fewer than half (49 per cent) of Britons aged 16 to 24 watch BBC programmes even a minimum of once a week. Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom warned the BBC in October warned that “public support for the licence fee could become eroded” in future.

Public support in the licence fee is already “eroded”, however, with a YouGov poll from December showing that half of Britons want the TV tax scrapped and the BBC to earn its own money, rather than simply be entitled to it.
New Zealand is facing the same issues, albeit on a much smaller scale.  Most of its subsidies to broadcasting have long since eroded away, with just a few channels left.  The NZ Government is contemplating scrapping the remaining subsidies.  It seems that the BBC will not be far behind. 

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