Recently, there have been rumblings and mutterings in the press, and from opposition politicians, arguing that the BBC is overstepping itself in the provison of the digital resources and services it offers.
George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, will suggest that the BBC should be blocked from dominating online and local media in order to safeguard independent innovators who cannot get a foothold.
Mr Osborne will build on the warning from his leader David Cameron last week that “we need to look at ways of making sure that the BBC doesn’t overextend itself”.
The argument seems to be that the BBC is giving away free content (at license payers expense), creating a digital network and resources that the private sector can't compete with in terms of qaulity, and are going out of business as a result.
Osborne's tactics are to emotively equate the licence with tax, and promote the assumption that TV licence payers are all of one mind, content with a diet of bread and circus broadcasting that includes; home makeovers, celebrity gossip and a whole genre of confrontational broadcasting such as Big Brother. Anyway Rupert Murdoch (another complainant) seems to be doing quite well with MySpace...
What Osborne, Cameron and the press don't seem to have realised is:
- Broadcasting these days is digital.
- Digital media is changing the nature of the market for media.
- Anyone can produce digital content today, a fact that the BBC are well aware of and addressing positively.
As new forms of media develop, I believe that the BBC must be very careful about not abusing its privileged position and huge resources to crowd out smaller players
Digital technologies (can) allow everyone to participate in broadcast and media. I suspect what he means is, that it is not as easy for the 'get rich quick merchants' to have sole control of the media distribution and production. He includes education as an example where business and ventures have been affected. However the smaller players' with a real interest in education are beginning to have a (positive) transformational of education
So, as a licence payer, I say - enough of the bread and circuses, lets have some quality digital content, the BBC is happy to work with us, let's work with them.