, , , ,

I like the BBC. It isn’t perfect, it possibly isn’t the best television provider in the world or even in England but this is not the point. My point here is that the way that it works is more respecting of its audience than most other providers, public, state or private. At the moment the TV license, a fee that you pay in England which broadly gives you the right to use AV equipment, including computers, to watch live programming and certain recorded material, is £145 a year. Technically each individual household should have one if its residents consume these ‘goods’.  For that, the BBC shows programming without advertisements among all the other things that it provides. Not to have advertisements, apart from everything else (and I fully understand the implications of sustainability for a tv channel) is more respectful of the viewers’ time. In 30 min of programming, you watch about 28 minutes of programme, with a bit of self-promotion of forthcoming programmes in between uninterrupted shows. This is comparable to about 21-22 min of progamming if you are watching a channel with ads on. Instead of getting more for your money, you get more for your time. But this is not the main reason why I like the BBC. It is its accountability structure. It is accountable to several boards and bodies, but, what I find most relevant, there are the audience councils, and they very often offer possibilities for audiences from everywhere to talk to them and make their opinions known. They get together in towns and cities everywhere including “near you”. These opinions get registered, and action is taken and reported back. So, I can go to one of the meetings of the relevant audience council (of people who do not belong to the BBC) and tell them I don’t like this or that programme including radio and internet, and if there are many like me (and not equally many people who love it), they take the programme off! Also, people who were seen as behaving inappropriately got fired, including big stars. Yes, of course I understand that what you don’t like may not change. Yes, I also understand that this sort of mechanism can sometimes be pretextual. It doesn’t matter! There is a structure to listen to people, not just to receive emails and letters that will get an automated reply. I like that. Plus I am sure my own £145 go towards paying McEnroe to commentate at Wimbledon 🙂