CMF Response to Launch of Government Green Paper on the future of the BBC
The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF) welcomes the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport’s Green Paper on BBC Charter Review as the launch of a consultation process on the future purposes and governance of the BBC. The CMF will participate fully in the process, especially in relation to the future of Public Service Broadcasting in general. With regard to the children’s sector the BBC’s almost complete dominance in commissioning-spend on UK-focused children’s content is a vital contribution to British children’s cultural engagement. With no significant competitors to the BBC in the creation of UK content, any changes to the structure and funding of the Corporation will have fundamental impact on the provision of UK content for UK kids - much more so than any other genre of programming. With that in mind, the CMF welcomes the Green Paper's recognition of the CMF's proposal that contestable funding could help solve the problem of plurality in commissioning. However we remain concerned at the suggestion that this funding be taken from the licence fee, other sources should be investigated.
We echo other organisations’ criticisms of the Licence Fee settlement process and its failure to be transparent, and consultative. Suggestions in the Green Paper that there will be further reviews of funding and an emphasis on consideration of the scale of the Corporation are of continuing concern. If BBC budgets are cut, UK kids will suffer - proportionally more than other audience groups as the content funding for children starts from a lower base.
Anna Home, Chair of the CMF said today; ”We recognise that the Secretary of State is broadly supportive of BBC children’s content, as the Green Paper addresses the now accepted “market failure”, with the BBC being the only significant player in the kids’ market producing relevant UK content for children. We hope that in the consultation and review process he will continue to keep uppermost in his mind the fact that damage to the capacity of the BBC to fund and deliver these services will have a fundamental impact on the well-being of children in the UK and their connection with the society and culture in which they live. Contestable funding has great potential for stimulating new content for kids however we would be concerned if this was money taken from the BBC as this would be robbing Peter to pay Paul.”