UK TV Executive Offers Public Service Broadcasting Vision

24 April 2008

LONDON: A senior British broadcasting executive says a major shake-up of the industry is necessary to revolutionise public service content.

Peter Bazalgette, chairman of Big Brother producer Endemol UK, argues that parts of the publicly-funded BBC and the state-owned but commercially-funded Channel 4 should be privatised to raise funds.

He proposes a sell-off of the BBC's Radio 1 and Radio 2 stations and of its commercial arm BBC Worldwide.

Bazalgette also urges the release of commercial broadcasters ITV and Five from their public service obligations in return for a spectrum fee when the digital switchover iscompleted in 2012.

He told a meeting of the Royal Television Society the cash could be used to link existing online offerings of museums, galleries, theatre companies, opera houses and concert halls and fund content from them.

The future of British public service broadcasting has been high on the media agenda for some years. The issue is being considered by communications regulator Ofcom and the government.

Bazalgette maintains, however: "We've all been facing in the wrong direction and obsessing with the institutions of the old world. Let's turn around, face the new world and start to imagine the possibilities."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff