Asset appeasement 

8 December 2009

Government urges BBC to consider Worldwide sell-off

HM Government: Operational Efficiency Programme: Asset Portfolio (PDF file)

So what on earth is BBC Worldwide doing in a document with unlikely bedfellows such as the Dartford Crossing, the Met Office, Ordnance Survey, and the Royal Mint, even if it occupies a lonely appendix all of its own at the back of the document?

The inclusion of BBC Worldwide in this ‘asset portfolio’ document is almost as if it’s an afterthought, being included as “Annex C” right at the end after a list of other existing Operational Efficiency Programme assets (Annex B); it certainly occupies a category of its own courtesy of the fact that the BBC isn’t actually a government department.

We can perhaps conclude therefore that the BBC Worldwide inclusion is a not-too-subtle attempt to directly appease the commercial media sector, even if the suggestion is partly open-ended, namely: “The Government now expects the BBC to look more widely at the options for greater financial and operational separation, including a sale or partial sale”.

The BBC’s response to all of this ought to be: “We’re looking at all of the available options and we will choose the one that represents the best value to TV licence fee-payers as well as providing the best return on investment for the widest range of BBC productions”.

Because given its current structure and remit, the BBC now needs to exert its independence from government influence more than ever before; the basic principle of which is something that even the Tories seem to at least partly comprehend.

A member of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System
Liverpool, Monday 5 December 2022