BBC License Fee ... safe! (maybe)
It seems as if Lord Burns, the chap who's heading up a British government review of BBC funding, has indicated that the beeb's license fee is safe for the next 10 years ... maybe. The BBC's Charter - its founding document - is up for its 10-year renewal (from 2006). Yes, the license fee is still the main source of public funding for Auntie Beeb (as it is sometimes sort-of affectionately known); and yes, the BBC gets a whopping GBP2.5 billion a year through this mechanism; but forcing almost every telly-owning punter in the UK to cough up more than 100 quid a year for a national public service is becoming increasingly unpopular in a multichannel universe; and it seems that even his Lordship has conceded that the BBC will one day have to lose this funding mechanism. In fact, the corporation will be lucky to keep it till 2016, which is why I qualified the "safe" bit above with a "maybe". Auntie will likely have to undergo a mid-cycle review in 2011, by which time who knows what kind of media environment (not to say political environment) the UK will be operating in.