Funding: What’s your bet?
June 8, 2022
The funding of TV of all kinds is under the microscope just now. For example; can public broadcasters justify collecting a tax from whole populations? Or, dare SVoDs run ads, or cut-off password sharers? Tricky.
The BBC is the most-high profile of PSBs and, therefore, the alternative that does (or does not) emerge to the licence fee will be of interest internationally. So, it’s just as well the transition process is being handled by a wise and objective minister and department. Just joking. Nadine Dorries, secretary of state, is known as ‘No-idea’ Dorries even by her friends. With the BBC, and the ill-starred Channel 4 sale, she has had to be publicly put straight on the most basic of facts by members of the DCMS Select Committee.
She is the reference example for talentless cabinet members in place solely because of slavish loyalty to our hapless Prime Minister. Now that the Prime Minister has been lame-ducked by over 40 per cent of his own MPs declaring he should go, everyone will be dragging their feet hoping this administration’s luck finally runs out before any irrevocable decisions are taken; it is 100 per cent certain this minister will not be in post when this Prime Minister is not.
In safer hands, one has to assume, are decisions intended to repair the recent damage to Netflix. In a Yahoo interview, Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph was asked if he had ever envisaged a service that would carry ads, or would restrict family password sharing: “Not till now” he replied. In my view, talk of these as ‘solutions’ is a – deliberate? – distraction from more fundamental problems. ‘Rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic’ would be going too far, but Netflix’s problems are linked to a business model that demands very high mid to long-term investment in return for short-term, cancellable purchases; purchases that are under increasing household budget pressures.
Netflix, more than any other service, predicted the future of TV. Maybe it needs to look to the past and make some offers to get punters to sign-up for longer term subs.