Why Paid BBC Website May Hit Whiners

Original author: Robert Andrews
  • Transfer
Calls to the BBC to make access to its sites paid are getting louder. And all of them, as a rule, are distributed by commercial companies, competitors of the BBC, which have a hard time during the current crisis. James Murdoch’s caustic speech in Edinburgh (with exaggeration, and sometimes simply inaccurate) is one example. Now here’s Five TV’s CEO Don Dawn Airey wonders aloud if the old BBC should start charging for everything except a couple of free TV channels. However, the belief that the introduction of payment somehow equalizes all players in the market and will save the situation is erroneous.

For starters, she ignores the fact that the BBC is already charging for access to its sites. This fee is included in the cost of the annual television license, which is equal to £ 142.50 ($ 233).(Every owner of a television receiver in Britain is obliged to buy a license for its use annually. This money goes to the state budget, and from there it goes to the content of the BBC and related purposes. - Translator comment). And commercial competitors, meanwhile, are distributing their content for free, earning advertising revenue. So their calls sound somewhat populist.

No, we are talking about explicit coercion to pay, that is, a separate fee for accessing the BBC Online or BBC News sites. But even if you argue in spite of how competitors seem to reason, even if you make access paid for the period of economic downturn, the subsequent cancellation of the fee is unlikely to eliminate the above sites from the market.

On the contrary, they will at least go under the auspices of the BBC Worldwide(a subsidiary commercial enterprise of the BBC, which is allowed to earn money. - approx. translator) . And the next day, owners of competing sites will wake up with the realization that the most popular news site in Britain can now also be earned.

This is unlikely to result in the introduction of paid access. BBC Worldwide does not even charge for accessing most of its content abroad. So why would it begin to introduce this model if the competitors themselves, demanding its maintenance, cannot really do it? More likely, it will be much trickier if it starts showing ads to domestic visitors to BBC.co.uk, as it does now for foreign visitors.

Then all current critics will demand to remove advertising from the site, make it free in order to regain advertising budgets. So what do they really want?

Also popular now: