Next BBC chief must revamp funding model to survive – George Osborne

Support us and go ad-free

The next director general of the BBC will have to come up with a new way of funding its work if the organisation is to survive the next 20 years, George Osborne has predicted.

The publicly-funded broadcaster is looking to appoint a replacement after current director general Tony Hall announced he would be standing down in the summer after seven years in the job.

London Evening Standard editor Osborne told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that with competitors such as subscription-model pioneers Netflix eating into the market, the next chief at Broadcasting House would need to review the future of the licence fee.

The ex-chancellor warned “relying on a way the BBC was funded 50 years ago is not going to work in the next 20 years”, now there is such widespread competition.

George Osborne
Former chancellor George Osborne is now editor of the London Evening Standard (Victoria Jones/PA)

Currently, those with a colour TV have to pay a £154.50 annual licence fee to fund the BBC’s output. Those who refuse to stump up the cash can face prosecution.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

In a bid to enter the streaming wars, the BBC joined fellow broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 in setting-up BritBox last year, a £5.99 per month streaming service designed to rival Netflix and Amazon Prime. It offers popular series such as Downton Abbey, Gavin & Stacey, Wolf Hall and Broadchurch.

Osborne dealt closely with the BBC when he was chancellor, striking a finance deal in 2015 that saw the media outlet take responsibility for covering the cost of providing free television licences for over-75s.

Asked whether he is considering putting his name into the hat to replace Hall, Osborne said he is “very happy” in his current role.

Tony Hall
Tony Hall will step down as BBC director general in the summer (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

He said: “I’ve negotiated with two director generals on licence fee settlements and I know what an interesting job it is.

“I’m very happy doing what I’m doing but whoever the new director general is has got to think really hard about the future funding of the BBC, because in a world of Netflix and Amazon and the like, relying on a way the BBC was funded 50 years ago is not going to work in the next 20 years.

“It requires quite a lot of forward and creative thinking to work out how a great British institution like the BBC thrives and flourishes in the future.”

The BBC board now has the responsibility of appointing a new director general, a post which, as of April 2019, comes with a £450,000 a year salary.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
      1. My free license runs out in May. I’ve been told I’ll have buy another but I won’t. I will disconnect my TV from the airal & refuse to pay for another. I stopped looking at bbc drivel years ago will not pay now. My news sources are on the internet and the TV is now on only when I watch a dvd. The bbc is a rip-off and only mugs pay for it but I’m not going to join them.

    1. The only reason I pay my TV license is because it’s the only way I know to keep their wolves from my door. I don’t need the stress. If there was a way to dodge the fee I’d do it.

      I remember when Blair was PM he claimed for his TV license, saying that as a politician he needed to keep up with the news. How’s that for grasping? If he claimed the cost back I’m sure most MPs do it too.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.