How much power do the BBC really have?

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), now owned by George Entwistle, are presented as a public and impartial company paid for and serving the people. In the media industry they are represented as one of the most respectable and trustworthy sources. However this is not true.

The BBC was founded by Lord Reith and George Villers and first began broadcasting on the 14th of November 1922, as a private company and only became a public organisation in 1927. The BBC then expanded, trying new ways of using radio transmissions and eventually expanding into the medium of T.V. World War 2 then halted the television services by the BBC going more weight to their radio services.  As well as broadcasting speeches from leading figures during war times, they also broadcast updates on the front line and, although were not as deep into propaganda as the Germans, they rarely mentioned Britain doing badly during their broadcast. When the war ended BBC went straight back to television and radio broadcasts, expanding their network at a rapid rate broadcasting some of the biggest events of the century (Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, the pictures of Neil Armstrong on the moon) and adding more channels to their television service and their radio service. Now the BBC boasts over 30 T.V and radio channels and has major influence over the media that we see.

The media ownership laws are constantly changing, in fact they have to come under review every three years by the Secretary of State, culture, sport and media. From my understanding the media ownership laws are in place mainly to prevent the “merger regime” (Many companies merging to create a bigger company and owning most or all of the market). Channel 3 is mentioned as one of the biggest companies that are relying on the media ownership laws. Outside of the BBC, Channel 3 has the biggest audience outside of the BBC for news and so is a good prospect for companies.

The BBC have a large amount of control over radio because they can’t show advertisements. The BBC can’t show adverts because they are publicly funded by our T.V licenses, the price for one now is £145.50 although this is reviewed by the government every three years. Obviously no one really like listening to adverts, so as soon as commercial radio station plays their adverts, many listeners switch over to the BBC.  This skews the listening figures and means that true figures aren’t really attainable. The BBC also have a blanket agreement with many record labels that allows them to play virtually any song. No commercial radio station has this level of clearance at such a low cost. This leaves many commercial radio stations disgruntled at the level of help given to the BBC

So in conclusion the BBC is Britain’s knight in shining armour, giving us high brow, high quality entertainment, neutral without the use of adverts, for a mere price of £145.50 a year. Or is it? The BBC is sneaky in the way they operate. The BBC own a whole commercial sector dedicated to raking in profit.  Their commercial sector is called BBC WorldWide, and owns UKTV, which owns some channels such as DAVE, WATCH, ALIBI and other channels. These are commercial channels and as such they can produce adverts on their channels, so the BBC isn’t really advert free. The BBC also have a substantial stake in another couple of companies that advertise and through this they can promote their own content and make money through advertising.

The BBC also presents itself as a neutral trusted news source. This is also not true. The BBC skew their news just as much as any other news channel, if not more. Is it up to us, the consumer, to realise our news is bias and to find a variety of sources to balance our argument? Or is it up to the distributor to try and give honest truthful news without influencing our opinion.? In my opinion if you’re silly enough to believe everything you hear and not get a second opinion then you deserve to be uninformed. Although there is some responsibility on the news distributor to deliver honest news, it is impossible to deliver news without skewing it in some way.

http://journalism.winchester.ac.uk/?page=75
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC
http://www.teletronic.co.uk/tvera.htm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/historyofthebbc//innovation/index.shtml

Media ownership laws = the percentage
Is the whole media ownership a good thing or not?
Is it up to them to give us balanced news or is it up to us to go to a variety of news sources?
Talk about the Newscorp or the beeb.

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