BBC licence fee: What scrapping it would mean for the future of British media

The scrapping of the BBC licence fee, and therefore government funding, would trigger a loss we can’t even fully appreciate at the moment.

In 2027, the media landscape will be undoubtedly changed across a number of different areas, as that's how far the BBC reaches.

From British dramas to educational resources, worldwide news to national radio, the BBC has formed the basis for British talent to thrive in so many fields.

Despite recent and necessary debate around the BBC's impartiality when it comes to the news, there can be no denying the impact the broadcaster has had over the past century.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced that the licensee will be frozen for the next two years. Photo: Google.

If we look only at the past year, the BBC provided parents and caregivers with educational materials to see them through home schooling during the pandemic.

In 2021 alone, the BBC won 42 awards for its TV programmes, including five BAFTAs and three Emmy’s.

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With the scrapping of the licence fee from 2027 onward, we can expect to see at best a change in the BBC’s output, pivoting to a different format, such as subscriptions or part-privatisation.

The world of subscription-based entertainment is now so full, with heavyweights like Netflix and Disney Plus already deeply entrenched, that it will be a tough fight to carve out a place there.

We will also almost definitely see cuts to what the BBC does best – namely sports coverage and TV dramas, such as 2021’s popular show Time, or award-winning Killing Eve, to name just a couple.

This is without mentioning BBC Bitesize, an invaluable resource for educators, or the national and local radio stations that reach people across the country.

The fact this has been packaged up as a way of saving the elderly money by culture secretary Nadine Dorries is laughable, considering it was the Conservatives who announced that TV licences would no longer be free for the over-75s back in August 2020.

There are so many areas likely to be be affected that we won’t be able to grasp the extent of the effects until the BBC begins to make the necessary cuts.

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What we do know is those cuts will certainly come and we won’t appreciate what we had until it’s already a thing of the past.

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