The British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) is a Public Service Broadcaster (PSB). Therefore it is funded by the public through license fees if they own a television or radio, so it must serve the public, “The BBC must inform, educate and entertain”. It is the world’s largest broadcast corporation, founded in 1952, the BBC was the first national broadcasting corporation. The total income for the BBC was £3.7261 billion at the end of 2013 and their income from license fees was £5.066 billion, meaning the license fees made up a massive bulk (73%) of the overall income for 2013. You need a licence to use any television receiving equipment such as a TV set, set-top box, video or DVD recorder, computer or mobile phone to watch or record TV. The annual cost of colour TV licence (set by the government) is currently £145.50. A black and white TV licence is £49. However the licence (whether colour or black and white) is free if you are 75 or over, and half-price if you are registered blind.
The Royal Charter- The current Royal Charter of the BBC runs until December 2016 and it outlines the purpose of the Public Broadcaster and the duties of the Trust and Executive board. It basically outlines what the BBC are meant to do for the public (rules and regulations). “The Royal Charter guarantees the editorial independence of the BBC and sets out its Public Purposes”.
The BBC has many priorities to help maintain it’s audience. One of their priorities is to improve the quality, variety and originality of new drama on BBC one (particularly in peak time). They also insure firm control of overall headcount, including continued reductions in the number of senior managers. They make sure they make tangible progress in reflecting better the diversity of the UK population in the BBC’s workforce and it’s output, in particular increasing the number of women on air. They try to pursue more partnerships with other cultural and creative organisations across the UK.
The BBC provides many services to the public:
They provide 9 interactive channels (some with separate HD option e.g. BBC 1 HD). They also provide 10 radio networks FM and digital, these are the main radio stations which can be accessed anywhere in Britain e.g. BBC Asian Network.
They also offer more than 50 local TV and radio services, these are services which are only accessed in certain areas of Britain e.g. BBC News West Midlands and BBC WM. They also provide a playback service called BBC iPlayer, which is where you can play a programme from the BBC if you may have missed it etc. For example: If you missed an episode of Holby City you could play it from the iPlayer and catch up on it.
BBC Worldwide Limited is another service they provide and it is “the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation”. BBC worldwides’ aim is to “support the BBC public service mission and to maximise profits on its behalf”. It achieves this by showing the BBC’s content around the world. By the end of 2013 the BBC had profits of £157.4m. They also offer BBC world service which is basically the same as BBC worldwide but it’s format is radio and not television.
The BBC has had many controversies, these include:
- Political Bias– The BBC is often accused of being biased in the way they present their programmes. Mainly they are accused of being highly biased in their journalism. ““the BBC has compromised its impartiality by depending too heavily on sources from business, the media, law and order and politics.” Apparently other channels are much more accurate in their stories. “By contrast, ITV and Channel 4 make much greater use of sources from academia, medicine, science and non-governmental organisations.”
- Phone-in Scandals– The BBC have gone through many phone-in scandals. An example of this was on 15th July 2006 during the BBC’s annual programme “Sport Relief.” Viewers were led to believe that a member of the public was part of a competition and won, whereas the caller was in fact a member of the production team. “The BBC has found evidence that this action was planned as a contingency in advance and that the physical infrastructure of the competition meant that it would have been impossible for it to be run as was described on air, and warnings about potential difficulties in conducting the competition were ignored”.
- Blue Peter Cat Scandal– Miss Salmon held up the Blue Peter cat that viewers were asked to name in the poll in January last year. In this episode of Blue Peter the viewers were asked to vote for the name of the new cat. They had voted for the name Cookie in the website poll but Blue Peter staff secretly rejected that name and chose Socks instead. When that deception came to light last week, an apologetic BBC announced that
- Ross/Brand affair– This occurred in 2008. Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross left messages on Andrew Sachs’s voicemail as “gratuitously offensive, humiliating and demeaning”. Over 18,000 people complained and the BBC was fined £150,000 by Ofcom in 2009 and the two comedians were suspended.
- The Queen Documentary– The programme trailer showed the Queen in an exchange with photographer Annie Leibovitz, followed by a clip of her apparently walking off during portrait session. They apologised for being misleading and for providing false information. “The BBC would like to apologise to both the Queen and Annie Leibovitz for any upset this may have caused.