Barwise: ‘Subscription BBC a car crash’

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Eminent academic Patrick Barwise, emeritus professor of management and marketing at London Business School, and a renowned commentator on media and broadcasting, has suggested that moves to replace the BBC licence fee with a form of subscription would result in “a car crash”.

Barwise made his comment in a panel discussion on ‘The Future of the BBC – Notes for the next DG’, convened by the Royal Television Society in London, which came three days after UK government sources revealed the administration’s intention to scrap the television licence fee and make viewers pay a subscription.

Barwise pointed out that people only tend to think of BBC television and not the full range of services offered by the Corporation, and that even with ensuring devices had conditional access to restrict consumption “you would still have a car crash on your hands”.

He questioned how the market would respond and noted that you can’t have a pay-TV service without marketing and customer service, which would add significantly to overheads.


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