Discussion: Privatising the BBC – From Public Service Broadcasting to Broadcasting Serving the Public


  • 04/05/2016
The IEA is delighted to invite you to a discussion on the future of the BBC.

The event will follow the publication of our new monograph “Privatising the BBC” which is part of the IEA’s Paragon Initiative.

RSVP by filling in the below form.

About the event

One of the monograph’s contributors, Professor Tim Congdon CBE, will outline the proposals of the paper. A number of respondents will then offer their own views and proposals for reform. There will be a chance for questions and drinks will be served.

About the monograph

The BBC holds a special place in the world of broadcasting. It derives its funding from a compulsory levy on people who may not even use the service. The protection it receives is justified on the grounds that it contributes to national welfare because of its role in ‘public service broadcasting’.

The authors of this book argue that the BBC’s funding model is becoming untenable as technology changes. Furthermore, technology has also undermined the justification for government support for public service broadcasting.

There is also major concern about bias at the BBC. However, the book concludes that bias is not confined to the BBC, but is common in all media providers. The problem is not bias as such, but the link between the BBC and the government, together with the compulsory funding model which does not allow people to not fund content of which they disapprove.

Various options for reform are presented, concluding with a proposal for full-blown privatisation. It is concluded that this is the only way to realise the potential of an organisation that should be international in scope and which, under the current funding model, will become marginalised by media players operating worldwide across a range of platforms.

This book is essential reading for anybody involved in public policy or the economics of broadcasting.

About the Paragon Initiative

This event is part of The Paragon Initiative, a five year programme which will provide a fundamental reassessment of what Government should – and shouldn’t – do. It will put every area of Government activity under the microscope and analyse the failure of current policies.

Read more about the initiative here.