Stephen FryAs regular readers will know, I have a huge problem with the TV Licence Fee in the UK, which forces all TV-watchers in the UK to pay the salaries and operations of the BBC; which, as I’ve long said, is merely one broadcaster among many in the UK broadcasting market. The argument most often used to justify this state of affairs is that the free market, whereby broadcasters find funding and compete for viewers, is incapable of providing the kind of quality, diversity and important programming that society needs. This, as I’m sure the sensible among you have noticed, is simply good old time-honoured bullshit. And so notes Stephen Fry:

“The days of claiming that the market cannot work are over, and it’s time to look at broadcasting in a new way. Thanks to TiVo, Apple TV, Sky Plus, Elgato and other forms of personal video recorder, televisions are now audio visual retail outlets that know about and respond to the consumer. Real market choice is here, there is no national fireplace, the individual with his remote, connected as he or she is, has no stake in station loyalty, no interest in network branding: show them the list of content, in categories including action, adult, arts, children’s, documentaries, drama, films: in sub-categories and nested sub-sub-categories, special interest according to age, religion, ethnicity and sexuality – who says the market place can’t tick the boxes for plurality, diversity and inclusivity?”

For the rest of Fry’s fantastic speech on this subject, see the whole speech HERE (well worth a read for those of you interested in the subject). Tip of the hat to Dave Powell for sending me the link during yesterday’s radio show.

For the record, I don’t want rid of the BBC. But the vast majority of its programming should be made commercially or by subscription (and let’s see how many TV Licence Fee-payers are willing to convert it to subscription once it’s made voluntary, if so many people “want” the status-quo!). I’d be happy to concede to the collectivists a 5-percent-of-its-current-size BBC Public Service, publicly funded, for ‘unbiased’ news (ahem!) and educational programs that aren’t capable of being made by National Geographic or Discovery Channel or the plethora of others doing similar things. (We’ll see how long that lasts.)