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Yet Another Anon

The recent takeover activity valued ITV at £5.25 billion, so I should think a conservative valuation for the BBC could be £10 billion.
The last Conservative Government around the time of the 1996 Charter discussions valued the BBC at £7bn if there were to be a sale although they did not think a sale appropriate, how much it is worth depends on how much potential shareholders think they are likely to make out of it - the BBC Licence Fee wiould be unlikely to continue if it were to go private; whether State owned, publicly quoted or some kind of private trust ultimately it has to raise revenue to cover it's costs rather than there being a licence.

Denis Cooper

I watched the BBC coverage of Blair's speech on defence - not a mention of the extent to which we're now entangled with the EU on defence matters, especially procurement. So I watched Sky instead - once again, no mention of the extent to which we're now entangled with the EU on defence matters. Another confirmation that selling off the BBC would not mean that the British public were any better informed about the vital issues affecting the future of their country and their lives.

Chris Palmer

As someone pointed out above, you cannot fully privatise the BBC because that would mean the BBC footage archives going as well, which should be for everyone. Wasn't there a scheme announced a while ago to make all the archives digital and release them for everyone to download or use?

aristeides

"As someone pointed out above, you cannot fully privatise the BBC because that would mean the BBC footage archives going as well, which should be for everyone."

Eh? On what principle should yesterday's Today programme "be for everyone" but tomorrow's not?

Yet Another Anon

As someone pointed out above, you cannot fully privatise the BBC because that would mean the BBC footage archives going as well, which should be for everyone.
Well, you could do - but it would be a question of whether it would be desirable or not. The BBC should be making more money from it's archives and the insane expansion in services should be curtailed.

It probably doesn't make much difference to the attitudes on the station whether they are shareholder owned, private trust or public corporation because the state will probably still regulate and get involved in how they are run - the same is true for example in the railways, water industry, electricity industry, gas etc... - the state continued through utility regulators and competition regulation to be involved in the structure of the industry and how it was run - in fact if you wanted to change the attitudes of the BBC away from Liberal and Socialist values it would be easier to put ex-military officers and business leaders on the board and keep it state owned. Transfer ownership and probably the same people will go on working for it, the type of ownership will dictate whether it is commercially orientated (in which case it would have for example been more likely to be more opposed to the War in Iraq than it was as public opinion in the UK tended against this) in which case it risks losing impartiality and simply having interests in whatever sponsor\advertiser pays it, setit up as a private trust and it could be ingrained as an anti-Liberal anti-Communist and anti-Socialist organisation and because it was not state owned then any government would find it far more difficult to change it.

Yet Another Anon

in which case it risks losing impartiality and simply having interests in whatever sponsor\advertiser pays it
In the sense that a private shareholder owned plc is expected by the shareholders to pay out dividends on the shares and this increases the pressure to make profits, a public corporation on the other hand doesn't have this pressure and for example a private charity limited by guarantee would have it as their remit that any profits had to be re-invested in the company.

Peter James

Wonderful idea,the BBC have become a political organisation and been milking the British people for far too long!

Ken Adams

"selling off the BBC would not mean that the British public were any better informed about the vital issues affecting the future of their country and their lives."

No you are right it would not, but at least we would not be forced to pay for liberal left wing propaganda masquerading as impartial objective middle of the road programming.

Denis Cooper

Agreed, Ken, but the BBC is supposed to be run according to the terms of its Charter. The problem is that at present there's no external mechanism for making those who control the BBC do what they're supposed to do. If you complain about some outrageous example of their bias, they usually just say "We don't agree with you". If you take it further, to the Board of Governors as I recall, eventually they also usually say "We don't agree with you". Even when one of their own staff admits that there's an institutional bias, they don't do anything about correcting it. But equally if you complain to Sky or ITV about their bias, which is more or less as bad as that of the BBC, they also just brush it aside, and not being publicly funded they're more entitled to do that.

William Norton

An, ahem, interesting proposal. It doesn't actually do what it says it will (this is technically a denationalisation); it is unclear what mischief it addresses (the bias of the BBC comes from its staff, not its ownership structure); and it would be totally unworkable in practice (an unlisted company with 50 million minority shareholders will either collapse or be very quickly captured by bossy pressure groups, assuming Murdoch doesn't buy it on the cheap, which isn't quite the outcome Chris is driving at).

Still, a game try.

The BBC would be incredibly difficult to value. From a cursory glance over the 2006 accounts, the best performing part of the whole appears to be the pension fund (they've had a good year) and they seem to be selling off a lot of assets. The various commercial arms are probably worth about £5 billion but that would be reliant on the goodwill generated by the public service arm so it's a nonsense number.

Opinicus

A dreadfully complicated and unworkable suggestion
Either privatise it completely and scrap the licence fee.
or
Do what Labour (and Burlosconi in Italy) have done and bias the BBC in our favour by stuffing the administration with our place men.

John Moss

This is nuts.

The BBC is a massive potential source of revenue from all the archive programming it holds. As the world moves from "broad" casting to "narrow" casting - ie watch what you want when you want, not what happens to be "on" right now - the BBC and other "broad" casters will become as irrelevant as the dead-tree press is becoming in the age of blogs and web-site news.

If the Government had any sense - this one or the next one - it would charge the BBC with becoming a universal ISP for the UK, offering fast download to all addresses in the UK for a set - and low - fee, the way the Royal Mail is obliged to offer a postal service on the same terms.

The revenue would of course come from the charges made to download and watch the programmes of your choice. Many would be free, because they would come with advertising, or you could pay to watch without.

To illustrate the potential: If every household that watched Eastenders paid 10p an episode, it would generate £2bn a year.

Nationalise it? No, because it already is, but milk its assets for all they're worth. After all, wouldn't you rather watch an old episode of Dr Who or Blakes Seven rather than Celebrity Big Brother?

Mark Wadsworth

I would prefer pretty much anything to watching old episodes of Dr Who, Blake's Seven or Celebrity Big Brother (which is not a BBC programme anyway).

Yet Another Anon

it would charge the BBC with becoming a universal ISP for the UK
BBC have been offering ISP services for years now, another company handles the actual servers on their behalf.

Yet Another Anon

After all, wouldn't you rather watch an old episode of Dr Who or Blakes Seven rather than Celebrity Big Brother?
You already can - YouTube, MySpace, Google Video, Yahoo Video, P2P - legally or illegally almost everything is available freely already.

Jake

This is overly complex and a crazy use of the word "nationalise". If you are going to put something out to the private sector, just sell it to the highest bidder. Don't do it under false pretences (and incidentally encourage everyone to put Granny Sandra who died last year and Uncle Fester who never existed on the electoral register to pick up a windfall).

And ditch the sunglasses - they look ridiculous.

Guido Fawkes

Like the sunglasses.

Privatise it at a giveaway discounted price.

Annabel Herriott

I Look at the beeb dispationalatly. For instance I am going to enjoy watching Andy Marr trying to trip DC up 9am Sunday. If Marr isnt winning, the body language is exquisite. He must have an even more liberal left producer yelling at him through his ear piece. " You let him off that one you fathead!!!" Also watch the feet.Bending up hard against the ankle. Stress is that. Enjoy CH. It will be fun. Or set a tape tonight if you have a lie in of a sunday. Cheers, folk.

Sam Tarran

I'm profoundly uncomfortable about this. A large part of the argument for nationalisation/privatisation (whichever you cut it) seems to be the increasing bias displayed in its programming. Surely, wouldn't it be better to try and stamp this out rather than go through this whole proceedure? As ToMTom said, it's already publicy-owned anyway. The only real problem with it is that it's not very accountable at all.

To be honest, so what is the news reporters swing this way on the political spectrum or the other? They're told what to do by the BBC. You change the BBC to be unbias, the reporters will stop too.

What's more, the BBC still provides a big television and radio service. Personally, I only ever listen to either BBC Radio 1 or 2, and I maintain that the BBC's nature and history documentaries and many of their drama productions completely overshadow efforts by ITV and other commercial attempts to mimic them.

Plus, there's no adverts. And by God, that's enough of a reason not to sell it off to me!

Opinicus

Oh dear, rejected. How sensible.

Craig McLeod

It worries me greatly when i hear people saying that we should abolish the licence fee, and the BBC should start to find it's own feet in a competitive market. The BBC offers something unique. Just look at the other channels on offer at the moment in the UK. Most offer nothing more than recyceled garbage or American TV shows. Yet the BBC, over the past few years have given us some quite brilliant dramas, like, Waking the Dead, Life on Mars, Spooks. Comedy such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Little Britian and Coupling. Then there is the sports and news coverage. BBC News 24 offers fantastic coverage of world events, as they happen, and the BBC's coverage of major sporting events is 2nd to none.

You get all that, and so much more (movies, the website (which is one of the most informative you will ever come across), radio, podcasts, etc..), for under £150/year. How much would that cost from a private company such as BSkyB? It is superb value for money, and i fail to see how anyone can say different, when you look at everything that the BBC offers.

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