BBC content is worth over £450 in subscription fees, more than twice the licence fee, a report by the broadcaster argues.
The report, entitled “Value for Audiences” states that “Compared with the market, the BBC continues to be very good value for money,” a claim that will have the wider public scratching their heads.
The under fire broadcaster is facing a funding crisis due to more and more viewers switching to subscription-based streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. Younger people increasingly avoid the BBC altogether.
The BBC is reported to have taken a 30% hit to its income over the last decade thanks to a new arrangement for free licences and a freeze on price hikes, along with a rise in evasion and a fall in the Television Penetration Rate – with the number of households needing a license falling by 2%.
The corporation has also been subjected to a powerful grassroots effort from Defund the BBC, calling on people to exercise their right to not have a TV license by tuning out of the BBC’s drivel and turning to the likes of Netflix and YouTube.
The past five years of cuts to pay, jobs and programming has been effectively cancelled out by these emerging threats.
The BBC is said to be angling after an inflation-indexed hike in the licence fee to help ease the pressure. However, according to the Times, the government says the extra burden for households of a price rise needs to be justified.
The new report seeks to provide the necessary evidence by awkwardly comparing the BBC’s entertainment, music and news services to various subscription services.
The £452.45 figure presented in the report adds together the annual price of Netflix (£94.91), Spotify Music (£119.88), and a standard digital news subscription (£238.67).
The BBC believes its research puts the broadcaster on a strong footing. An hour of BBC television costs 9p compared to 15p for Netflix, the report claims.
But it is on shaky ground. Spotify is available for free – you pay to remove ads. Netflix has come to dominate the market because of its choice and well-funded programming. Digital news subscribers are attracted to outlets leaning in a particular political direction, which is prevented by the BBC charter. In any case, the BBC is widely viewed as left-leaning, alienating the majority of viewers, which explains the meteoric rise of Defund the BBC.
The BBC faces “difficult choices that will impact programmes and services” is the report’s headline warning. For many, the easy choice is to not pay the TV licence at all.