A Subscription BBC Would Kill CBeebies for a Start, Says BBC Chairman

By Gary Cutlack on at

The talking colourful shapes channel CBeebies would be one of the first casualties of a Netflix-style subscription BBC should the licence fee model ever come to an end, says the corporation's chairman Sir David Clementi.

Such a switch would demand an instant chopping of spend on children's output, Clementi warns, as well as a huge cut in educational programmes in general and much less in the way of niche regional specialities. Basically if you make a living out of dubbing children's TV into Welsh, you'd better get working on a Save the Licence Fee banner.

Clementi has a perfect quote to copy and paste in response to people who say they pay less per month for their Netflix subscriptions than the licence fee costs so there, and said: "A subscription service would be unlikely to have much regional presence. It would be very unlikely to continue the level of properly curated programmes for children, or indeed the brilliant Bitesize education services that have helped so many teenagers. It would not have the same commitment to investing in home-grown ideas and talent, to the benefit of our whole creative sector."

It's lining up to be another Brexit-style situation, he fears, as the masses of little things the BBC does are forgotten in a race to be the loudest anti-Beeb voice, calling for it to be filled with DFS adverts and to cost an extra £4 a month in subscription fees if you want your local news in HD and a younger, sexier weather forecaster.

Here's another Clementi pro-BBC banger for your clipboard: "No other brand resonates around the world like the BBC. No other national asset has the potential to serve Britain so powerfully -- uniting us as one nation at home, and representing global Britain abroad. The BBC is a great national asset; a diminished BBC is a weakened United Kingdom." [Guardian]