Speaking to Express.co.uk, Professor of Finance, Public Policy and Ethics at St. Mary’s University Philip Booth argued the BBC would benefit internationally from being defunded in the UK. Professor Booth claimed the broadcasting corporation would be able to profit from the use of advertisements it is not allowed to broadcast in the UK and from its international reputation, which he argued is much better than the one the corporation holds domestically.
He said: “I think the real opportunity for the BBC is internationally.
“So only about, I think it’s 5 percent of all English speaking people live in the United Kingdom.
“And the BBC’s reputation internationally is actually much better than the BBC’s reputation domestically.
“So you’ve got a huge audience internationally which could bring potential subscribers.
“Currently the BBC use advertising on international programming, which they don’t use in the UK.
“But I think it could become a real international force and a real niche player providing not just entertainment, but learning content.”
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The expert said the BBC should offer “differential levels of subscriptions” to those willing to pay the price for its services.
As he called for the corporation to be defunded by the Government, he claimed the broadcasters could become a part-owned commercial company offering subscribers the chance to be shareholders.
He added: “I think that the BBC should be financed by subscribers and also I’ve suggested it should be owned by subscribers.
“So instead of being a fully commercial shareholder-owned company, like Rupert Murdoch’s Sky, or like Netflix, it would be more like the Nationwide Building Society.
“So if you’re a subscriber then you’re also a part of – or the National Trust to give another, although the National Trust is slightly different because it’s a charity.
“And just as everybody pays a TV licence now for the service they get, then I would expect that you would get virtually nothing unless you did actually pay for the subscription.
“It might be that the Government would like to provide things like the Parliament channel, possibly even a basic news service.
“Although there are so many free news services, even outside the BBC provision, that that’s probably not necessary, but it may well be that for various reasons, that the Government wants to provide something like the Parliament channel free to non-subscribers.
“But by enlarge, yes, if you want the service you’d have to subscribe.
“But there would be different levels of subscription, I would expect, for differential levels of service.
“I’d expect the BBC to bring on these channels that were only available to certain levels of subscribers, and also potentially provide advanced viewing of certain programmes to people who had a higher level of subscription as well.
“The variety of things you can do using the technology now for those sorts of things, the BBC could segment the market. It’s really quite large.”
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A recent survey, commissioned by the Defund The BBC pressure group, also found 40 percent backed the idea of a subscription service while 37 percent favoured the current system and the £157.50 annual charge. It also found 15 per cent of viewers will not watch any BBC programmes over the Christmas holidays while a third plan to watch a maximum of five hours.
Defund the BBC campaign director Rebecca Ryan said: “The British public want the licence fee to move to a subscription model that would mean people have the right to decide if they want to access BBC content or not.
“It is clear from this poll that there is a huge swathe of the population who do not feel the BBC’s Christmas schedule is on a par with what it should be and many will be watching far less BBC content than they did last year.
“A major factor of this is undoubtedly the subscription choices in the form of Sky, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video which have a raft of on-demand content.
“The BBC licence fee is outdated and unwanted.”