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BBC of Exceptional Value to Public During Crisis

We responded to a Select Committee inquiry into the future of public broadcasting, explaining why the BBC is essential to making sure that arts and culture and available to everyone.

Published: 12 June 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 03 March 2022 | 12:36 PM
BBC London HQ building
The BBC is more likely than the commercial sector to take risks on new artists and give emerging artists an opportunity to showcase their talent. Photo: Shutterstock

The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee held an inquiry into the future of public service broadcasting. We welcomed the opportunity to contribute.

We pointed out the exceptional value that the BBC provides to the public, both in terms of the direct cost of productions versus the audiences that they reach, and in terms of fostering new music that goes on to boost the UK economy.

The BBC has an extremely positive effect on the market, by providing a unique platform for emerging artists through initiatives such as Big Weekends and BBC Introducing, as well as through its regular broadcasting.

We noted that 25 artists that began on BBC Introducing have gone on to have number one albums and therefore have created strong economic returns for the UK. The BBC is more likely than the commercial sector to take risks on new artists and give emerging artists an opportunity to showcase their talent.

And we described how the BBC provides exceptional value for money, citing the example – that for the same cost of two series of House of Cards on Netflix ($100m), BBC viewers got 14 series and nearly 80 hours of drama. And that 6% of the UK saw House of Cards versus 72% who watched a BBC drama.

BBC Radio is crucial to the survival of British musicians

We also pointed out how essential the BBC is in making sure that a wide variety of genres gets air-time, and in the commissioning of new music. Data from PPL about the use of recorded music in radio broadcasts in 2014 demonstrated that overall, 75% of all tracks played across the full range of BBC radio stations were not broadcast on commercial radio.

BBC radio is crucial to the survival of British musicians at the best of times, and during the Covid-19 crisis this is even more the case as the live music scene has collapsed. A great number of musicians survive on royalties that are paid for radio airplay through PPL. This currently balances out the low royalties that musicians receive through streaming.

Keep Music Alive and #FixStreaming

As well as explain the essential service that the BBC provides, we urged the Government to undertake a review of streaming to ensure that the music ecosystem is transparent and fair.

We want a fairer share of the pie for music creators and performers, so that they don't have to rely on hardship funds while major labels boast about record streaming profits.

Add your voice to the call to #FixStreaming and keep music alive.

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Exterior of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Cardiff

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