17 Arguments on the Senselessness of Freezing and Ending the BBC License Fee.

  1. The BBC creates a meaning of life for millions inside and outside of the United Kingdom. It also creates a sense of identity for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

  2. The English Language is the greatest export this country has. The BBC is the spiritual home of the English Language. 
  1. If Britain is attempting to be a global player after Brexit then weakening the institution that has built the image of global image, educated British citizens, established a great British streaming service, great British film, great British podcasts, great British journalists, musicians, writers, directors, presenters, comedians and actors is quite literally the worst thing that you could do for the country and the economy.
  1. It is a complete fallacy that the BBC is biased against the Right Wing Media. I have worked for the Extinction Rebellion Media team. The exact same arguments are used on both sides. If the BBC were biased against the right wing, how did Boris Johnson win the greatest election victory since Margaret Thatcher in 1979.

  2. Because of impartiality the BBC cannot defend themselves against criticism and therefore becomes an easy target for the right and the left. The BBC’s inability to defend themselves doesn’t improve the credibility or rationality of criticism, however, the absence of defence might lead towards political tribes becoming irrationally addicted towards the idea that the BBC is to blame for whatever political circumstances. 
  1. The comparison between the price of the license fee and the price of other streaming services (e.g. New Statesman https://www.newstatesman.com/chart-of-the-day/2022/01/how-does-the-cost-of-the-bbc-tv-licence-compare-to-streaming) is a miscorrelation argument. Yes BBC iPlayer is similar to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon yet the infrastructural importance of BBC to our information sphere is much more crucial than these other streaming sites. Britain’s sense of national identity is very much based on the international, national and local levels of the BBC. It creates a sense of community throughout the British Isles and the Commonwealth and is crucial towards the effective distribution and assimilation of information. Such is the educational importance of the BBC it might be better to draw comparisons between sending your child to University or top private schools like Eton and Harrow, or an infrastructural comparison, for instance what is the difference between places with or without a functioning national and local legal system. Moreover, the money which the BBC produces for our nation in the creation of musicians, journalists, comedians, presenters and film maker’s is an extraordinary contribution towards Britain’s economy and British soft and hard power. 
  1. BBC television has adapted phenomenally well towards the internet. The fact that Britain has, through the iPlayer, created a world class publicly funded streaming service was by no means a given. Because it is British means that content can be created and curated in the national interest, prioritizing British writers, British narratives and British stars. These luxuries are not afforded by Disney +, Netflix or Amazon Prime. Moreover, major American streaming services invest in the BBC through buying British content from the BBC. The Louis Theroux Podcast on the Netflix Joe Exotic documentary is a fantastic investigation into the morally dubious behaviour of international content streaming services. 
  1. The BBC is responsible for 23 of the top 100 Apple Podcasts downloaded in Britain. This is an incredible success given the popularity and availability of podcasts in the internet age and a testament to both the BBC’s ability to adapt towards the media infrastructure of the internet and to offer valuable service towards the people of the United Kingdom. 
  1. The BBC is a truly global infrastructure. This is demonstrated through services like the BBC World Service (7.9 million Facebook followers), BBC Persian (15.3 million Instagram followers), BBC Arabic (2 million Instagram followers) and BBC America (1.2 million YouTube subscribers and 1.1 billion YouTube views). 
  1.  The BBC’s social media followers are a testament towards the extraordinary international success of the BBC. 

On Twitter the BBC has at least 8 twitter pages with over 1 million followers, (BBC, BBC News, BBC One, BBC Sport, Match of the Day, BBC Nick Robinson, BBC Laura Kuenburg, BBC Radio 1). These accounts have a combined follower total of 34.5 million.

On Facebook the BBC has at least 8 pages with over 1 million followers (BBC, BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC America, BBC Earth, BBC Radio 1, BBC World Service, BBC Sport). These accounts have a combined follower total of 64.35 million. 

On YouTube the BBC has over 1 million subscribers on at least 8 pages (BBC, BBC News, BBC Radio 1, BBC Music, BBC Asian Network, BBC America, BBC Radio 1Xtra). 6 of these accounts have over a billion views (BBC, BBC News, BBC Earth, BBC Radio 1, BBC Music, BBC America). These accounts have a combined subscriber total of 48.1 million and the videos have a combined 22.3 billion views. 

On Instagram the BBC has at least 11 pages with over 1 million followers (BBC, BBC Sport, BBC Earth, BBC Radio 1, BBC Good Food, BBC Food, BBC Strictly, BBC Persian, BBC Travel, BBC Arabic, BBC Swahili). These accounts have a combined follower total of 42 million instagram followers. 

  1. The BBC is a unique information ecosystem amidst the advent of social media companies and surveillance capitalism. If the BBC were to be subject towards neo-liberal surveillance capitalism monetisation strategies this may serve to damage a series of UK infrastructures including democratic participation, film, sport, music and education.

    If the BBC were to rely on digital advertising they would find themselves in a market that is completely dominated by Facebook and Google and would likely follow strategies that obscured or weakened BBC content. From 2018 to 2022 advertising on print media was forecast to drop 60% due to investment in Facebook and Google. In the United States in 2021, Google, Facebook and Amazon accounted for 64% of digital advertising spending. Content created to maximize advertising revenue is different to content created to inform and entertain thus it is likely that the quality of BBC content would suffer and thus weaken the British information infrastructure. In the world of neo-liberalism, the BBC’s license fee model is of great relief. 
  1.  If the BBC were to become privatised then there would be nothing stopping a larger company like Amazon or the Murdoch’s from buying the BBC and politicising it. This would lead towards the destruction of arguably the only non-partisan major media organisation. 
  1.  The BBC is either directly or partially responsible for many of the greatest broadcasts, interviews, musicians, directors, actors, writers, television shows and films that have ever been created in the United Kingdom. Of the BFI’s top 100 programmes of all time, 77 were from the BBC. 
  1.  The BBC is of central importance towards Britain’s greatest events like Wimbledon, Glastonbury, the World Cup, the European Championships and the FA Cup. The importance of these events needs to be understood in part because of the relationship with BBC iPlayer, Television, Radio, Podcasts and Commentary. 
  1.  BBC radio is of central importance towards the successful functioning of infrastructures like sport and music. In the case of music, radio stations supported and pioneered entire genres of music (Dubstep and Grime) that are now loved all over the planet. 
  1.  BBC impartiality is one of the most important features towards the effective functioning of British democracy.
  1.  The BBC’s independence is likely of great importance towards the credibility of investigative journalism. 
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