This is John Whittingdale’s letter to Radio Times thanking readers for contributing their views on the BBC’s future.
He has published them as part of his Broadcasting White Paper. The full Radio Times survey results follow beneath the letter.
Dear Mr Preston,
I am grateful to Radio Times readers for their contribution to the consultation on the BBC’s Charter Renewal. The Radio Times survey returned some interesting results, with clear support for a publicly funded broadcaster and a licence fee that rises with inflation. There are some parallels with the Charter Review public consultation results, with similar majorities indicating that the BBC’s content is high quality and distinctive from other broadcasters (public consultation 74.2 per cent, Radio Times survey 84.9 per cent).
Nearly a third of those who completed the survey took the time to make additional comments and these results should be viewed in the context of the wider survey. Of those that suggested a further view on the best way to fund the BBC, the most popular response was that there should be some sort of licence fee reform, including closing the iPlayer loophole or changing the arrangements for free TV licences for those aged 75 and over (3 per cent of total survey responses). Slightly fewer indicated a preference for full subscription (2.4 per cent). Other options were suggested including general taxation, a household levy and advertising.
Of those that put forward a view on how the BBC should improve the genre mix across its channels and services, a wide range of options was suggested. The highest response was for fewer light entertainment programmes (7 per cent), followed by higher quality and distinctiveness (4.9 per cent) and more drama (4.3 per cent). A range of other views covered the provision of more or less content for specific genres and general suggestions such as fewer repeats.
I can assure you that we have considered these results alongside the published survey results as part of the Charter Review process. I am pleased that so many Radio Times readers have taken the opportunity to get involved and contributed to the variety of evidence we have received.
The BBC is part of the fabric of this country and a source of great pride. As you will be aware, I am committed to an open and transparent Charter Review so that we can make sure the BBC thrives in the years to come.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
More than 9,000 Radio Times readers submitted their views on the future of the BBC – see below for the full results. [Click the images to enlarge]