Magazine article Marketing

BBC Must End Its Ambivalence on Business Reality

Magazine article Marketing

BBC Must End Its Ambivalence on Business Reality

Article excerpt

A few days ago, I heard the admirable Jenny Abramsky, head of BBC Radio, interviewed on Radio 2 by DJ Steve Wright. She said that the great strength of BBC Radio was that it was "free from commercial pressure". Free from commercial pressure! You don't get freer from commercial pressure than having your entire income for years at a time guaranteed by government. I wish Zenith Media were so lucky. Whether it likes it or not the BBC is up to its cars in commerce.

But you have to wonder whether the Corporation has gone barking mad. It presumably has its own good reasons for axing long-running favourite One Man And His Dog, though they seem to be lost on viewers - and on the programme's presenter Robin Page for that matter. Not content with dropping the show, it demands a 'commercial' payment from any other broadcaster that wants to take it on. Dog in the manger I believe that is called. Isn't One Man and His Dog precisely the sort of programme the BBC should provide as a public service broadcaster?

The BBC now enjoys the security of the licence fee while playing commercial hardball with its competitors.

Try telling Talk Radio that BBC Radio isn't really a competitor because it is free from commercial pressure. You will discover steam pouring from Kelvin MacKenzie's ears. Try telling Classic FM to take no notice of Radio 3 because of course it is free from commercial pressure, or Capital that Radio 1 doesn't really count. BBC stations may not feel any commercial pressure but they certainly exert it. …

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