I believe the BBC is one of the nation's most important institutions and is recognised internationally as a maker of quality content. I am passionate about retaining the World Service as I believe its influence is global and reflects all that is good about the organisation. Ten years ago, the last time the Government ran a Charter Review, the media landscape looked very different and the BBC has adapted to this changing landscape. It remains loved by audiences all around the world.
However, we do need to ask some searching questions during this Review. These include: what should the BBC be trying to achieve in an age where consumer choice is now far more extensive than it has been, what should its scale and scope be in the light of those aims, how far does it affect others in television, radio and online, and what are the right structures 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 paid for by the public. It will have spent more than £30 billion of public money over the current Charter period and I firmly believe that everyone must be able to have their say on how well they think that money is spent. That is why I am pleased there were 190,000 responses, the second largest response to any Government consultation.
This volume of responses to the Review is proving a logistical challenge and, although it has taken longer than anticipated, the Government has published a summary of the consultation and will publish its proposals as soon as it is able.
A significant number of responses only concentrated upon a few issues, for example over 90 per cent of responses did not offer a view on the issue of protected funding and only 2 per cent commented on whether the BBC’s existing framework of a 10 year Royal Charter and framework Agreement, between the BBC and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport was fit for purpose.
However the majority of responses suggested that the BBC was serving its audiences well, provided the correct genre mix and produced high quality and distinctive programmes, sentiments with which I totally agree.
I look forward to reading the proposals.