BBC to Help Fund dTV Set-Top Boxes?

25 April 2001

The non-commercial British Broadcasting Corporation, funded by a compulsory levy on all UK homes owning a TV set, is believed to be mulling a contribution to a fund providing viewers with free set-top boxes.

The move, designed to accelerate Britons’ adoption of digital television, is said to be under discussion between the BBC and its ITV commercial rivals, Granada Media and Carlton Communications, which jointly own the nation's sole terrestrial TV platform, ONdigital.

The ITV duo have already spent some £300 million in subsidising ONdigital, giving away the digital boxes to over one million homes. The platform’s output, otherwise wholly funded by subscribers, transmits BBC digital channels free to viewers.

The BBC currently pays £10 million to ONdigital's rival BSkyB in return for airing its digital channels and, eager for similar favour, Granada and Carlton are inviting the BBC to contribute £20m to their offspring’s coffers.

BBC insiders say that director-general Greg Dyke is enthusiastic to drive uptake of dTV and has already set-up a special division dedicated to that end.

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)