I firmly believe the BBC is at the very heart of Britain and one of the nation's most important institutions which is recognised internationally as a maker of high quality content. Ten years ago, the last time the Government ran a Charter Review, the media landscape looked very different. The BBC has adapted to this changing landscape, and remains much-loved by audiences, a valuable engine of growth and an international benchmark for television, radio, online and journalism.
However, we need to ask some hard questions during this Charter Review. This should include questions about what the BBC should be trying to achieve in an age where consumer choice is now far more extensive than it has been, what its scale and scope should be in the light of those aims, how far it affects others in television, radio and online, and what the right structures are for its governance and regulation. Today, for example, 62 per cent of all programmes accessed online are watched using the BBC's iPlayer, a significant change from a decade ago.
The BBC is a national institution, paid for by the public. It will have spent more than £30 billion of public money over the current Charter period. The Government recently set out a consultation which marks the start of the Charter Review process and I firmly believe that everyone must be able to have their say on how well they think that money is spent. This consultation gives people that opportunity and it also invites them to comment on how the BBC is governed.
This consultation, combined with the publication of the Government's topics for debate, is an important first step in an open and thorough Charter Review. They set out the issues and some of the options for change. I join the Government in its wish to stimulate a national debate over the coming months as we map out the future for our BBC.