Scrap the TV Licence and Improve the Quality Of Life in Britain

Fri, 23/11/2012 - 16:00
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By K.Arthur-Recent events have unmasked some rather unsavoury aspects of the 90 year old BBC. Even the brainwashed sheeple will now be seeing things differently, and their perceived aura of the near sacred institution of “Auntie Beeb”, will have crashed.

However, in parallel with the sexual scandals there is another scandal, the almost Mafia component of it's financing.

The following article was in preparation well before the recent high profile crisis, which has only accelerated the need for major changes. The essence of these proposals is to remove the “Mafia” protection of the BBC and let it float or sink in the real competitive broadcasting world, and let the customers decide if it is worth keeping or not.

The TV licence is an obnoxious relic from a bygone age which has now become little more than a legal protection racket to prop up the BBC.

It extracts the same fee from its customers regardless of how much or how little of its product they use, but much worse than that, the BBC are even empowered to demand their fee before you are allowed to watch other media companies programmes.

No civilised society should put up with an abomination like that. Viewers have the fundamental right to choose which TV stations they patronise and pay for.

It is no different to choosing which supermarkets you use.

However; it's no use shouting “get rid of the licence” unless you can offer a viable alternative which is acceptable to the public. Although getting rid of the BBC entirely might appeal to some, such a proposal would be unlikely to garner much general support because many people detest TV adverts and would prefer to retain a TV service without them, even if it means paying for it somehow.

There is also likely to be opposition to dumping the cost onto the taxpayers, which leaves the obvious crunch question.
How do you provide a TV service without either a licence fee or adverts?

EASY! You take a leaf out of the mobile phone industry's book, and charge for the broadcast signal on a time basis. If that concept can work for a mobile phone, why not a TV?

By charging for the signal you not only enable a fairer charging system for the BBC, you also open the door for commercial TV stations to use the same formula and offer their programmes on the same basis.

In practice, to capture the maximum audience ratings they will probably opt to deliver dual versions of their output. Free broadcasts paid for by adverts or a version devoid of adverts for a fee.

The concept of digital charging could also be extended to radio.

If that were done Classic FM would probably increase its listeners exponentially.

The Massive Portfolio of Benefits for Both Viewers and Producers.

Here is a list of the wide ranging benefits of digital TV charging.

1) Fairer Charging with digital charging your bill could be based directly on how many hours of the service you use. Surely you can not get fairer than that.

2) Accountability to the Viewers --- digital charging, especially when it is charged by the second, will put the broadcasters under the thumb of their customers.

It will enable customers to retaliate by switching off and depriving the station of revenue, whenever they are offended or insulted by programme content.

For instance, if a news broadcast is “economical with the truth”; people can switch over to a more truthful station and take their viewing revenue with them.

3) Higher Quality Programmes --- many viewers will willingly pay more for top quality programmes, and with flexible digital charging, high quality but expensive to produce programmes can be more easily marketed.

If there is more money to be made from high quality programmes, the TV industry will obviously become more orientated towards making them and competition to grab that lucrative viewing market will be increased.

Consequently, low grade programmes which attract the advertisers of throw away consumer “tat” will have more competition for air time. Surely that will upgrade our society.

4) Catering for Specialised, Local and Niche Viewing Markets --- the flexibility of the system would enable broadcasts to be charged individually, and this attribute has nation changing potential.

Proprietors of local sporting events and cultural activities, especially smaller amateur ones, would be able to buy time and bandwidth slots and beam their events to their remote spectators in real time at a premium and effectively charge them digital gate money.

This would enable a small town's ex pats, even if they are spread all over the world, to be able to watch their old local teams and other local activities as they play.

Broadcasts to local areas would probably be via TV masts, and to further afield by broadband.

If those proprietors learnt to handle the production and camera-work themselves, the up front costs of sending out the live broadcast would be small and digital gate money from remote spectators could substantially enhance the coffers of local sports teams and probably in many cases mean the difference between survival and closing down.

The team's remote fans would also get a “buzz” out of being able to remain connected with them, especially if such broadcasts could be made interactive.

The overall effect would be one of localising and personalising our culture and social life, especially sport and entertainment, creating both camaraderie and a revenue stream, reducing the dominating influence of big money interests on our culture and returning more of the command to the people.

In fact, the capability of digital charging could give the slogan “power to the people” a whole new essence.

5) Making Society more Cohesive and Bonded - This would be a massive beneficial spin off from item 4.

The more people can stay connected with their favourite sports and pastimes and all the other people with similar interests to their own, the better.

The internet has had a massive beneficial effect in that direction already, but live localised broadcasts, especially if they are interactive will bring people together even more.

6) More Contented and Less Materialistic Society, Less Waste and probably Less Crime Sounds too good to be true, but just analyse the matter logically, and it all fits into place.

The bigger the proportion of TV which is funded directly instead of by adverts, the less adverts will be invading peoples homes. The basic technique of many advertisers is to make you discontent with your present lot and return your happiness back to you for the price of whatever they are selling.

If you can not afford to do that, tough luck, you just have to stay discontent. So the rich are allowed to be happy and the poor are not.

Less adverts beamed into peoples homes will lead to less artificially induced stress and discontent within society, less people, especially children, being contaminated with the want-want-want mentality for the latest fad and all the “latest” things they cannot afford and don't really need anyway.

Taken overall, the less psychological pressure there is to spend spend spend on non necessities, the more the country is likely to be at ease with itself, less stressed, less wallowing in wasteful junk and less likely to get up to mischief to try and compete in the artificial rat race.

7) Improve the country's Finances – much of the consumer tat is imported, so the less people are induced by the adverts beamed into their houses into buying things they don't really need, the less our import bill.

8) Accurate Royalty Payments-It would provide a simple, cheap and fair way of calculating royalty payments for artistic content, based directly on the number of viewers.

9) That portfolio should make Britain a much better place the technology needed is only a slight adaptation of current mobile phone science, and it could easily accommodate a massive range of different viewing contracts and pricing options, including pricing specialist programmes individually and catering at premium rates for remote real time sport spectators.

No doubt many vested interests will weigh in on both sides in this matter and ironically our foes in the in the newspaper industry are likely to support it because less adverts on the box means more for them.

The total amount spent on TV will probably increase, but in return for that we should get better quality programmes, niche market coverage, charges based directly on what you use, and probably the option to view commercial networks in advert free mode.

The BBC is not a protected species, and should be made to stand on its own two feet.

It has no right to be protected by an atavistic system which is an affront to society and is close to legalised extortion. With all its programme making resources it should have no fear of competing head on with its competitors in a free market where quality will be the winner.

If the BBC does fear a modern digital charging system, then it is hiding something.

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