The BBC have called for “serious public service investment” if it is to stand a chance against the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus.
BBC Director-General Tim Davie said that the broadcaster needs more dosh to “avoid further cuts” and to survive what he called a “period of real jeopardy” for the media landscape.
Speaking at the Royal Television Society this morning, he said: “I believe we are in a period of real jeopardy. A life-threatening challenge to our local media, and the cultural and the social benefit they provide. This is not an immediate crisis for audiences.
The choice of high-quality TV and audio has never been better. The threat is not about if there is choice, it is about the scope of future choice and what factors shape it.”
“Do we want a US-style media market or do we want to fight to grow something different based on our vision? “
The licence fee was frozen at the start of this year at £159 for the next two years, and means the Beeb faces a £400m funding gap by 2026/27.
Davie said the freeze means that the BBC plans to have “fewer brands overall”, consolidating it under a “simple, single brand in the UK” which he described as “the BBC”.
The broadcaster announced plans to bring BBC News in the UK and BBC World News together into a single TV channel called BBC News in April 2023.
He added that he was open minded about future funding options, but added: “We are clear that it is critical that we need a universal solution that fuels UK public service growth not stifles it while offering audiences outstanding value for money.
Of course, the latest settlement did include the increased debt facility for BBC Studios which was welcome, and we are ambitious about its prospects.”
Davie’s comments come after culture secretary Michelle Donelan said this week that it would be “impossible” to sustain the BBC on the current licence model and would be evaluating alternative models.