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BBC To Make Deep Cuts In Internet Services 246

Posted by kdawson
from the inconvenient-for-the-commercial-sector dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that the BBC has yielded to critics of its aggressive expansion, and is planning to make sweeping cuts in spending on its Web site and other digital operations. Members of the Conservative Party, which is expected to make electoral gains at the expense of the governing Labor Party, have called for the BBC to be reined in and last year James Murdoch criticized the BBC for providing 'free news' on the internet, making it 'incredibly hard for private news organizations to ask people to pay for their news.' Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, said 'After years of expansion of our services in the UK, we are proposing some reductions.' The BBC is proposing a 25 percent reduction in its spending on the Web, as well as the closure of several digital radio stations and a reduction in outlays on US television shows. The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union, which represents thousands of workers at the BBC, says that instead of appeasing critics, the proposed cuts could backfire. 'The BBC will not secure the politicians' favor with these proposals and nor will the corporation appease the commercial sector, which will see what the BBC is prepared to sacrifice and will pile on the pressure for more cuts,' says Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of the union."
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BBC To Make Deep Cuts In Internet Services

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  • by metageek (466836) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @06:38AM (#31343314)

    Everyone knows that you can cut costs substantially by switching to open source. This is a good time for them to get back to using open source and open standards: get rid of your flash-based, linux-unfriendly, iPlayer and stick with open source (theora, etc). They could also stop using word/excel etc and move to open office... I bet the savings on licence costs would be large!

    • by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @06:48AM (#31343378) Homepage

      BBC have developed Dirac codec for that. It's open source and royalty free. It's a very good codec, it has reached a stable version and is soon to be standardised as VC-2, unlike theora.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lordandmaker (960504)
      I gather they're pretty open source in the backend already. They're historically a Solaris house, but a lot of their web presence is Linux, and about half the Perl programmers in London seem to work for the BBC.
    • by sqldr (838964) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @07:01AM (#31343494)

      The problem is DRM. A lot of BBC programs are made in conjunction with other companies, etc. "Life" was made with the discovery channel (apparently Oprah Winfrey narrates the US/Discovery version.. jesus.. they replaced a paleontologist with a chat show host. What the hell was wrong with Attenborough?).

      Part of the licensing therefore involves the Discovery channel enforcing DRM on the BBC, which means open-source is out. The alternative is to stop working with Discovery which would mean half the budget. Decisions, decisions.

      • by dave420 (699308)
        There was no DRM on the BBC iPlayer's streams of "Life", short of checking the IP address of the computer requesting the playlist. Once the computer has the playlist, it doesn't matter where it is in the world - it could stream the programme just fine. Heck, a standard Flash player using the FLVPlayback component can play the BBC's RTMP streams perfectly.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by RDW (41497)

          Not any more:

          http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/24/iplayer_xbmc_adobe_swf_verification/ [theregister.co.uk]

          Note, however, the familiar consequence of this sort of strategy:

          "Ironically, third party utilities that download files (which presumably the verification is there to prevent) still work fine. It is possible that this move will actually increase the occurrence of downloading files which will not be time limited, or torrenting of copyrighted material."

    • They could save on bandwidth by replacing their restrictive video feeds with torrent servers, and live feeds with streaming torrents.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @06:39AM (#31343324)

    James Murdoch can get bent. The BBC News service is not free. It's provided by the license fee so it is clearly not free - I've already pay for it. I like the BBC News and would rather that than have to pay for the (more) biased reporting from any of his stable of rags.

    • Is it possible for a UK resident to get the BBC in any form without any license fee, tax, etc.? --A curious guy across the Atlantic
      • by xorsyst (1279232)

        You only require a license to watch live TV. If you have no TV set, and use iplayer in regular (non-live) mode, then I believe you are ok.

        http://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/help/about_iplayer/tvlicence [bbc.co.uk]

        you are also free to use the radio stations, website, etc. without a license.

      • by VJ42 (860241) *

        Is it possible for a UK resident to get the BBC in any form without any license fee, tax, etc.? --A curious guy across the Atlantic

        The license fee is for TV only. I can get BBC radio & BBC online services without having to pay the license fee. The only exception is that if I want to watch live streams of events on the BBC website I'd technically need to pay the license fee. Hope that clears things up.

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        Yes. You can get BBC Radio for free, and everything on the website except for the live video streams.

        The only thing you have to pay the licence fee for is broadcast TV including broadcast TV streamed on the internet, but you also have to pay the licence to the BBC to watch broadcast TV from anyone else, such as ITV, Channel 4, Sky etc.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Is it possible for a UK resident to get the BBC in any form without any license fee, tax, etc.? --A curious guy across the Atlantic

        Yes. Once you reach 75 you don't need to pay. Also if you don't watch live content (i.e you use iPlayer), you don't need to pay. Nobody has ever paid for listening to the radio stations. Basically the licence is to pay for reception of live TV.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by digitig (1056110)

        Apparently, although it would be very unusual. The license covers the apparatus to receive any broadcasts as they are transmitted, including commercial, but I understand that if you don't have a TV and only listen to radio or watch on iPlayer then you don't need a license.

        I'm not sure how relevant that is, though. Even if it were funded through taxes that applied to everybody, I still think there's a place for public service broadcasting. It's the nature of tax that you have to pay for something that you m

      • by jeremyp (130771) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @08:13AM (#31344166) Homepage Journal

        As other replies have already said, you only need a TV licence if you watch or record live TV on any device. If you have no TV and you only use iPlayer to watch TV after its already happened technically you don't need a TV licence.

        However, it's actually pretty difficult to convince the authorities that you don't watch or record live TV. You're in for a world of harassment if you don't have a TV licence. The BBC just can't cope with the concept that there are people in the World who do not watch telly.

    • No doubt! If the BBC revenues were increased due to monetization of internet publishing, I doubt we'd be having this discussion today. Try another business model folks, it is the internet, deal with it!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dkleinsc (563838)

      This seems to be a case of "like father, like son": Rupert Murdoch never had any problems with the idea of saying outrageous lies in order to strengthen his political position in order to strengthen his bank balance. Never mind that what James says is absolute bollocks, concentrate on what he's actually trying to accomplish, namely weakening the BBC in favor of his own publications.

      The BBC is a truly fine institution, one that shows the potential of public broadcasting. The Murdoch family's, on the other ha

  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @06:41AM (#31343332)
    The BBC has a pretty good web presence. I certainly prefer BBC News, Democracy Live [bbc.co.uk] and the other services they provide to anything that is tainted by Rupert Murdoch. Just because Murdoch doesn't understand the web and has no sense to realise that, quality news sources like the BBC shouldn't just provide a more shitty service to make Murdoch lose less money.

    In this case, a public service is providing great service and if you can't compete with that, instead of whining maybe you should go bankrupt.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by halowolf (692775)
      Well Rupert could always try just making something better than what BBC offers. A crazy concept I know...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lemming Mark (849014)

      The BBC has a pretty good web presence. I certainly prefer BBC News, Democracy Live [bbc.co.uk] and the other services they provide to anything that is tainted by Rupert Murdoch. Just because Murdoch doesn't understand the web and has no sense to realise that, quality news sources like the BBC shouldn't just provide a more shitty service to make Murdoch lose less money.

      In this case, a public service is providing great service and if you can't compete with that, instead of whining maybe you should go bankrupt.

      I don't disagree with anything you've said. I think what Murdoch is saying is stupid. I've seen people point out here previously, however, that Murdoch himself is not stupid. He might just be an old media dinosaur in this case but I wouldn't be so sure. He holds vast swing in UK politics and what he's basically emitting are none-too-subtly coded messages that he wants something done about the BBC. By being so noisy about how it's impossible to make money in ways he 'ought' to be able to he's also sprea

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        He certainly tries to influence things the way he learned how to, however I don't think he's having that much success. Here's an excellent article [guardian.co.uk] on how Murdoch got Myspace wrong for example.
  • If they would just start selling full episodes of Top Gear (amongst others) over here in the states. My British counterparts get to see full one-hour episodes of Top Gear when they are in the UK. But here in the US I cannot have that from the BBC, for any amount of money. BBC America shows me the butchered 40-minute episodes. Sure, I can accept that they need to sell advertising space here. But why can't they sell the full episodes on DVD here? If I buy the BBC America DVDs I get the same 40-minute episodes that they show on TV here. And BBC UK won't sell me the regular DVDs - they are region encoded (and PAL) but that doesn't matter since they won't sell them to me anyways.
    • You're talking about a different company. BBC America is not the BBC.

      Also, doesn't America have some law which states programs have to finish on the hour and half hour?

      • You're talking about a different company. BBC America is not the BBC.

        Correct. And Top Gear (and most of the programming on BBC America) is a BBC program that is carried by BBC America. BBC needs money and I am offering them some of mine if they will sell me the same DVDs that they are selling in the UK.

        Also, doesn't America have some law which states programs have to finish on the hour and half hour?

        No such law that I am aware of. I see unusual start/end times on cable fairly often.

        However that is not relevant to what I am seeking. I am offering to pay BBC directly for DVDs that they sell in the UK. If you release something on DVD there is no reason why it needs

    • by feepcreature (623518) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @07:06AM (#31343552) Homepage

      If they would just start selling full episodes of Top Gear (amongst others) over here in the states...
      --
      In 2009 we confirmed yet again that indeed you can buy everything in New York City.

      Everything but Top Gear, it seems...

    • Even though they list the older seasons in their catalog, they are never available through Netflix. What, do they only have one copy of each?
    • by qc_dk (734452)

      This is one of my beefs with copyright law as it is implemented today. I want to be able to see the REAL bbc channels(to watch top gear, real british news, british comedy etc.) and I want to see the real French channels (to watch their talk shows). But because I live in Denmark that is not possible. No amount of money would make it possible. It is technically feasible, because I can receive the same satellites as the UK. But they will not sell me the decoding equipment.

      The reason is that they are not allowe

      • by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @08:13AM (#31344180)
        I want to be able to see the REAL bbc channels(to watch top gear, real british news, british comedy etc.) and I want to see the real French channels (to watch their talk shows). But because I live in Denmark that is not possible. No amount of money would make it possible. It is technically feasible, because I can receive the same satellites as the UK. But they will not sell me the decoding equipment.

        A Freesat decoder box costs about £50. Buy one, have it shipped to Denmark, hook it up, done. It's not encrypted, you don't need a subscription, what's the problem?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The 40 minute cuts are what's left when they remove Jeremy Clarkson's unfavourable comments about Americans.

  • Sound familiar? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OrwellianLurker (1739950) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @06:48AM (#31343382)
    "Your actions don't suit my business model-- stop it." Now where have we heard this before?
    • by Fluffeh (1273756)

      "Your actions don't suit my business model-- stop it." Now where have we heard this before?

      MIA.... No... CIA.... perhaps. Goddamit, it's right here on the tip of my tongue...

  • Fuck you Rupert (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) * on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @06:48AM (#31343392) Journal
    Murdoch has also been making a lot of noise about the Australian broacasting commission's (ABC) "stealing" his audience. The state sponsered TV channels in Oz are the only one's left with any real journalists, this prick won't be satisfied until he removes every last skeric of independence.
    • Re:Fuck you Rupert (Score:4, Insightful)

      by secondhand_Buddah (906643) <secondhand.budda ... m minus caffeine> on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @07:11AM (#31343598) Homepage Journal
      Murdoch is a prime example of the type of scumbag that is strangling mankind. He and his ilk deserve the firing squad for all of the lives that they have ruined because of their personal greed.
      • Re:Fuck you Rupert (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TapeCutter (624760) * on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @08:07AM (#31344108) Journal
        When Murdoch says shit, politicians jump on the shovel. Here is a recent example [theage.com.au] of how this arsehole does bussiness.

        The meat from the (non-Murdoch) link...

        "Last week Mr Smith [shadow communications minister] gave qualified support to the hand-out, saying the opposition acknowledged financial support for the networks was warranted during the transition to digital television. But on Tuesday, after the meeting with Mr Murdoch, Mr Abbott [opposition leader] blasted the hand-out as ''dodgy'' and an election-year bribe to free-to-air networks."

        Between my OP above and this post I watched the Larry Flint doco The right to be left alone [youtube.com] on ABC. This is the second time in the last few years I have seen the doco on state sponsred TV, it's an excellent doco that no commercial station here would play because of the way Flynt highlights their bullshit. To quote Flynt - "I watch the mainstream news to see what they leave out....The problem with the MSM is it's corporate...The models they put in front of the camera have to tow the corporate line".
    • by Fluffeh (1273756)

      The state sponsered TV channels in Oz are the only one's left with any real journalists, this prick won't be satisfied until he removes every last skeric of independence.

      Absolutely. If I watch TV news (which I admit I rarely do) I will pick ABC news, SBS news (It's more world focused) and shy of those two, I have found the German News (DW News Hour) to be amazingly informative.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      He's old; if we're lucky he won't be working to ruin the world in the name of whatever he stands for much longer.

      Though we would have to be insanelly lucky to get better successors in his place...

    • There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of hist

    • I'm not trying to argue here, I'm honestly curious. If something is "state-sponsored," as you say, how can it also be "independent"?

  • by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @06:49AM (#31343398) Journal

    (1) I applaud the decision to reduce expenditure on US television shows. Some of them are brilliant, but it is not really the BBC's place to broadcast them.

    (2) The BBC needs to go back to a principle of quality over quantity. Output from such channels as BBC Three would not pass for a mediocre school production. "Hole in the Wall" might not pretend to be anything but light entertainment, but it is not adding to the knowledge or the culture of Britain. Digital radio is in general a failure, and it is good that they have tacitly acknowledged this. Meanwhile, the BBC News Internet site is excellent, and should not be the first choice for cuts despite evident political pressure for those who do not like the balance provided by the BBC.

    (3) The BBC needs to stop privatising or outsourcing its research and development, so it can go back to long-term efforts in improving the state-of-the-art in broadcasting. It needs to go back to a technical-driven culture: for example, it needs to cooperate in efforts to prevent pollution to the shortwave spectrum, and it needs to reverse all efforts to introduce Digital Restrictions Management. We've already paid for what you produce, and you are our public broadcasting service: you don't get to dictate how we enjoy your productions.

    • I'd like some clarification from the BBC or uk.gov on point 1 - I agree with your (implicit) argument against the BBC importing US programmes, but I worry that it'll affect joint BBC/US productions. Recently I've seen a (IMHO) positive trend for the BBC and HBO to work on co-productions - "Rome", for example, was the BBC and HBO (and an Italian broadcaster); "Five Days" was also the BBC and HBO.

      BBC 3 does have some good programming. I've never seen "Hole in the Wall", but can imagine just how dreadful it is

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        BBC3 is really a sandbox for new programmes they would have only ever previously piloted on BBC2. Hence there is a lot of rubbish, but also a few real gems that now are mostly on BBC2. I don't know if it is a worthwhile use of the license fee or not, but some of my favourite comedy programmes in years have started out on BBC3. BBC4 is the Radio4 of TV, and I guess it has a very specific target audience, but the programming is generally good. Obviously both have a lot of repeats too, which most of the time m

  • ... maybe its time they sue the company that keeps accidentally dropping pianos on their test track.
  • So the Empire of Murdoch can't emtirely dominate in the UK due to the BBC

    So The Sun, the UK's most popular paper and owned by the Empie of Murdoch, changes its support from Labour to the Conservatives

    And the BBC's board back down.

    Abso-bloody-lutely marvellous. Now we can have news of the quality and independence served to the US by Fox.
  • What part of "bread and circuses" do they not understand. Cutting pensions and television at the same time, well that's the bread AND the circus.

  • by feepcreature (623518) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @07:00AM (#31343492) Homepage

    last year James Murdoch criticized the BBC for providing 'free news' on the internet, making it 'incredibly hard for private news organizations to ask people to pay for their news.'

    So where does Murdoch's mythical right to extract money from the public come from? Or, more to the point, Murdoch's right to prevent anyone from competing with services he might prefer we pay for?

    Especially when the public have already paid for the news to be gathered, and the BBC are only making available (at modest extra cost to the BBC) the information they have already been paid to gather - to the people who paid for it (even if it is also available to non-licence payers).

    Isn't it the BBC's mission to inform and entertain? And why not do that via the internet as well as the airwaves?

  • Objectively, you could look at this a different way. If the BBC stops publishing re-engineered press releases and left that to the newspapers and focused solely on making sure that they produced insightful, detailed analysis pieces then this will bring them nothing but benefit. They will be providing the service that we (in the UK) pay for, instead of providing free advertising to a company that wants to tell the world that they've released a new product. Plus the repackaged press releases and Associated
  • I love the BBC. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by timepilot (116247) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @07:07AM (#31343554)

    If American commercial media had anything as good as the quality of BBC News (Radio, TV or online) I would listen, watch and read it, and even put up with commercials.

    I actively avoid the complete and utter crap Murdoch's medial outlets spew out.

    Murdoch, if you want to make money, sell a quality product.

    The BBC reflects very well on Britain. My very positive view of the country is due at least in part to the programming I've received via the BBC. Curtailing that programming would have unfortunate results far outweighing any potential benefit to Murdoch's bottom line.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      You know what? for Top Gear, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Primeval, etc, and the musical modernness of BBC radio (compared to German state-owned radio) alone they are a justified and good thing.

      In Germany I can’t even imagine the state-owned TV stations producing something as cool.

    • Re:I love the BBC. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Xest (935314) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @11:14AM (#31346580)

      I wouldn't worry too much, I don't think the cuts are due to have any effect on the main news site to be honest.

      Most the stuff being cut is crap like this, which people don't even realise exists:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/switch/ [bbc.co.uk]

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/switch/slink/ [bbc.co.uk]

      It shouldn't harm the BBC's news operation, and despite media linking it to Murdoch and so forth I don't think it's actually anything to do with that. I think the BBC just realises there's a lot of needless sprawl, and that cash will get tight if it continues with that and it's literally just cutting away all the crap.

      The news section if the BBC sites bread and butter, and it's award winning, I doubt for a minute they'd be willing to make any cuts into that, for precisely the reasons you point out- it's perhaps one of the finest elements they have in reaching out globally to show their existence and bring in further viewers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    He sells advertising. The news is just bait to get people to buy.

  • Angles (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sn0wdrag0n (1750796) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @07:09AM (#31343578)
    There appear to be a few angles here:

    The idea that the BBC 'giving' news away is undermining 'paying' for news. So far as I am aware, no major news site charges for content, or at least not for major headline articles less than 2 days old. If News Corp truly thinks that by eliminating the BBC's presence they can begin to shape market expectations of people 'paying' for news, I think they need take a deeper look at the nature of the Web itself. Duplication and propagation are in its very nature, and the idea that alternative, free-to-view sources will not spring up (or current ones have their traffic increased), or that their 'pay for' articles won't be reposted across blogs and forums within minutes of appearing on their sites is naieve in the least. The music and movie industries have enough trouble keeping enormous amounts of music and movie files flying about the place - how on earth do they think they will stop something that can be duplicated with two keyboard shortcuts? I suppose this will begin the search for a 'copy/paste disabled browser' or somesuch tool - then I guess it really will be screenshot or it didn't happen.

    It begs the question, how many people pay for news now? As an example, quick google search will show in 2005 the NYT had 1.1 million subscribers, the Sunday paper 1.7 in 2005. By charging for online access, do we really expect a significant increase in the new combined digital/paper subscribers total? I would submit if you're not paying for news now, and you didn't when paper was the only format, you're unlikely to start now.

    It also belies something a little more sinister. Does this mean that all 'government corporations' (a type of entity in growing popularity, seemingly) are subject to supervision of Corporate interests? The BBC was and has always been free to its many listeners and, later, readers - it was a public institution set up to provide a service, a World Service even. Could you imagine telling someone in Britain in the mid-20th Century that, unfortunately, the BBC was going to have to curtail its activities because some multinational corporation was finding it too hard to charge you for listening to its private media on your own radio set? Of course, we can argue that the BBC is government media just like News Corp is private media, but any discerning reader understands that bias is part of reporting intentionally or not. In any case, I'd like my bias free, as in beer, thank you, and goodnight.

  • It is not sea of content I usually like to see in BBC website (it's nice touch though), it is the news - unspoiled, objective, rich with context news with additional references where to look for more information. I rather doubt that -25% will do wonders like making suddenly BBC to loose their integrity and turning all BBC readership to commercial news feeds.

    In overall, someone (or some forces) seems like want to gain more control over BBC - or make it so that it feels vulnerable, so it doesn't get into the

  • These cuts are nothing more than looking to be doing something, while actually not doing much. They are simply trimming back some of the dead wood.

    However, in doing so they are completely missing the point of their remit. They are supposed to produce high-quality programming, and that includes minority programming that commercial broadcasters wouldn't, or couldn't, touch. Radio 6 completely falls within this remit -- Radio 1 however, most surely does not. Radio 1 is a commercial channel, in everything bu
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I work as a boom operator. It's almost none existent to work as a boom op for the BBC, unless it is drama, they have made huge cuts in production costs. They have also got rid of sound recordists for many productions, it is now done by the camera operator. We call this a "one man band", a jack of all trades, a master of none.

      The BBC have almost stopped all technical training. The masters of the trade are disappearing, many have no technological know how or engineering skills, they just know how to switch a

  • People pay for it trough their taxes. It’s the nation’s homegrown/self-owned news service.
    Murdoch is just a greedy dick who “invests” in political party sock puppets.

    • by Tim C (15259)

      People pay for it trough their taxes.

      No we do not, we pay for it through the TV licence fee. That may well have every appearance of being a tax, but it is not.

  • Good (Score:4, Funny)

    by s122604 (1018036) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @07:28AM (#31343742)
    it's about time, godless commies... Now, switch over to FOX news for the REAL story
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @07:31AM (#31343778)

    "incredibly hard for private news organizations to ask people to pay for their news."

    it's not hard to ask i just don't want your news.

    i want to pay my tv license and have an organisation that tells me what's going on and not what they think sells papers.

  • by Idimmu Xul (204345) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @07:33AM (#31343798) Homepage Journal

    I can't wait for a reduction in our TV licenses, due to all this money the BBC will now be saving!

  • by Aceticon (140883) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @07:47AM (#31343936)

    I vaguelly remember an article in the newspaper that listed the BBC employee costs. A significant part of those was in paying "super-stars" (those entertainers that get payed millions of pounds per-year).

    In a country like the UK with a long tradition of great humourists, paying a single comedian like Johnathan Ross 18 million pounds a year to host a couple of talk-shows is incredibly bad value for money.

    Just for comparisson sake, the budget of BBC Radio 6 Music (which they're also planning on closing) is half as much. That's 24h/day, 7 days a weak, 52 weeks a year of music for half the price of maybe 10h/week of programming with Johnathan Ross. Measured in in hours-of-entertainment/pound terms that means that Johnathan Ross costs almost 34x more than BBC Radio 6 Music (and he's definetly not 34 times better).

    Ditch that guy and couple more like him and replace them with new blood and you'll probably be able to cover the 110 million pounds that the BBC Internet operations cost. It will even have the nice side effect of enhancing even more the BBC's work in developing and promoting new talents in the UK.

  • Murdoch (Score:4, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @08:01AM (#31344064)

    Politics is Murdoch's bread and butter. As far as political interference goes, that old traitor Rupert (and I call him a traitor, because he renounced his Australian citizenship for commercial reasons) would sell his mother for a Mars Bar, and would say and do anything to advance his own interests.

    This sneak-attack on the BBC's online news operation will go down in history as one of the nastiest, shittiest commercial and political power plays in history. This is a classic case of the evils of allowing people like Rupert Murdoch to become as powerful as he has -- he has effectively kneecapped one of the world's greatest news organisations, so he can force people to pay for his filthy, biased low-grade garbage (optimistically called "news").

    Murdoch is threatening to turn the world into a supersized version of the US; with few large independent voices, and a news market dominated by undemocratic, fascistic shit like FOX News. And with a for-profit, partisan, low-quality mass media that shills for its corporate masters, rather than doing its job, we are talking about a basic and dire threat to our society.

    The Murdochs are a walking disaster area for our democracy, and not enough is being done to challenge them and their minions. Old Rupert himself is a very old man, and undoubtedly his appointment with Old Nick is imminent; however that's not to say that his sons won't follow in his footsteps.

  • i thought the 'free market' capitalism was a system which let individuals and organizations charge whatever they want for their products and services.

    turns out, it isnt so, everyone has to charge high enough so that private interests can make profits to satisfy themselves. it seems so, because some prick is able to come up and say that, like people are born to this world to to be profited from. reminds me of the middle ages and serf system.

  • I pay £110 per year for my BBC services because I think they're better than your advertisment-supported (and hence profit-motivated) propaganda machines. You push the agenda your advertisers let you, and I don't buy it. The BBC has no advertisers, and is far more critical than any private and profit-oriented media company.

    Get bent, Murdoch. Stop trying to monetise me. I give my money and time to who I want to give it to, and that's not you.

    Nor will it ever be.
  • The BBC should tell Murdoch and others to go jump. Unless something has changed recently, the BBC is funded largely by the license holders and has no obligation to Murdoch/News or any other "news" organization.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @12:45PM (#31347866)
    Here in the states, the BBC World News is by far the most objective and balanced reporting available. They even do a good job of covering US politics, whereas the US based news organizations appear to assume their listeners want to remain blissfully ignorant to what is going on in the rest of the world. Hell, even Al Jazeera has better journalism standards than most US News organizations. Is James Murdoch any relation to Rupert Murdoch? They both appear to have a business model based on whining that their customers aren't paying enough for their product.

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