free counter

Analysis: Could License Fee Strife In France & THE UNITED KINGDOM Spell THE START OF THE FINISH For Europes $36B Public Broadcasting Sector?

The funding model that is the bedrock of Europes 35.5B ($36.3B) public broadcasting sector for many years is under threat, and the is gravely concerned.

The other day, legislation was introduced in the French parliament which will get rid of the license fee, dramatically shifting how the nations public broadcasters (PSB) are funded and resulting in potential government meddling and instability. In Britain, the 100-yer-old funding model is under review from the Conservative government that’s no friend to PSB and, arguably, is ideologically against it.

Noel Curran, Director General of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and former Director General of Irish pubcaster RT, warned of a domino influence on smaller nations PSBs if powerhouses just like the UK and France see their funding models weakened, that could threaten the existence of public broadcasting in Europe. French state TV and radio workers have already been striking in the last weeks.

France and the united kingdom are two of the largest public service media entities in Europe so these changes are bound to possess implications elsewhere, Curran told Deadline. Dramatic changes in funding models are always concerning, particularly in Europe where there isnt exactly the same history of independent media.

Based on the EBU, European broadcasters generated 35.5B in 2020 a 7% real terms fall over five years and 60% originated from countries that work with a license fee model, which sees each household pay from $100 to $200 each year to be able to access the PSBs.

The model has been roundly praised on the decades because of its independence from government which very independence is threatened by President Macrons new funding plan, that will see France Tlvisions, Radio France, Franco-German broadcaster ARTE and international TV channels funded by value-added tax (VAT) revenues which will raise just over 3B ($3.1B) roughly exactly like the current degree of funding.

Although politicians on all sides of the Centre Right-dominated upper house took umbrage for various reasons, French senators approved the controversial legislation today, per Deadlines reporting.

As the EBU is waiting to see just what the entire mechanism will undoubtedly be, Curran said his team was very concerned when Macrons legislation was initially introduced as, amongst other issues, we dont understand how independence will undoubtedly be preserved.

An amendment was already tabled for the brand new funding mechanism in which to stay place for two-and-a-half years also it may necessitate regular renewal, and therefore any new or current government can tinker with it at will, or drop it altogether. That government could pressure broadcast news networks to report in a particular way or risk losing profits, a dangerous precedent that’s broadly avoided by the license fee system.

Needing to potentially renew the funding model regularly may also impact pubcasters capability to plan ahead for major public events coverage like the Olympics, in accordance with Claire Enders, who runs influential British media firm Enders Analysis.

Enders remarked that the brand new model may possibly also stymie innovation, as public broadcasters will see it impossible to forge strategies in areas such as for example technology, VoD and data if their funding isnt fixed for the future.

The brand new model keeps the show on the highway but there is absolutely no leeway for future commitment, said Enders.

Its an exceptionally short-sighted move. Just look at the way the BBC turned the 2012 [London] Olympics right into a global performance, reigniting tourism to the united kingdom and making a massive financial contribution. The BBC was planning years for that event.

The move comes at the same time when French broadcasting is held in high regard, in accordance with Curran, who pointed to the nations TV and radio going for a stronger role across Europe more generally. France Tlvisions CEO Delphine Ernotte-Cunci may be the EBUs current President, for instance, and contains been warmly received round the continent, lately addressing a packed Lille auditorium at Series Mania, where she passionately argued and only the now-derailed license fee system.


Meanwhile, the continent is grappling with a cost-of-living crisis a concern that PSBs are in no way immune from but has been utilized by some skeptics being an argument to take money from them and back to the pockets of ordinary citizens while deep-pocketed U.S. streamers are causing super-inflation in it market that’s showing no sign of slowing.

In the united kingdom, a delayed review in to the license fees post-2027 future is because of begin in September, once a fresh Prime Minister is appointed, which could upend the model which has so boldly propped up the BBC through the decades.

Deadline realizes that review could possibly be extended from an initially-planned half a year to 1 year, because the government looks comprehensive at alternatives and grapples with numerous questions.

Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnsons firebrand Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, an arch-BBC sceptic, ordered the review and rumors abound that she could be returned to the brief if the favourite to displace Johnson, Liz Truss, wins the race, potentially within an expanded role. Dorries biggest decision since taking office has been freezing the license fee for another two years in a single fell swoop, a thing that is costing the organization vast sums of pounds each year .

The EBU always remains available to new funding models however the issue in the united kingdom is the insufficient alternative, Curran believes. Subscription models, ad-based models and progressive taxes have already been floated but with little evidence or gumption to back them up.

The others of Europe is confused and bemused with what is happening in the united kingdom, he added. They go through the BBC using its huge audience, quality, impact and brand and so are amazed that the model that delivered this success has been questioned.

Enders pointed to the soft power credentials of the BBC, which reaches around 500M people all over the world per week, at the very least five times that of the French broadcasters, she said.

The British system is ginormous and the French dont quite have exactly the same knowledge of the role they play on the planet, she considered.

While Curran remains worried about the domino aftereffect of developments in France and the united kingdom, you can find small green shoots.

In Ireland, the federal government recently accepted 49 of 50 recommendations created by another of Media Commission on public broadcasting, rejecting only 1: to accomplish away with the license fee, that will remain the foundation of funding.

And in Australia, admittedly definately not Europe, Albert Albaneses recently-installed Labor Party has submit a roundly-praised five year funding intend to support national pubcaster ABC.

Whatever happens, maintaining independence, universality and transparency is key for Currans EBU, and industry observers remain gravely concerned over what lies ahead because of their public broadcasters, the bedrock of the continents TV system.

Next steps in the united kingdom and France could determine that very bedrocks sustainability.

Read More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker