If you’d like to get up to speed on the nature of publicly-funded broadcasting, you’d better go on over to the BBC iPlayer to see Stephen Fry’s speech on the subject.
For those without access to the iPlayer, here’s a quote:
“How can an audience be brought to a channel that showed nothing but worthy programming? No matter how excellently produced. Isn’t the whole point of the BBC, as a major channel, a real player in TV production – across the spectrum of genres and demographics… isn’t the whole point of that BBC its ability to draw audiences into public service broadcasting programming by virtue of their loyalty and trust in a brand that provides entertainment too, pure and simple […]
In a sense, the nature of the BBC gives permission to all kinds of people to watch programmes they otherwise might not. What is the alternative? A ghettoised, balkanised ‘electronic bookshop of the home’ – no stations, no network, just a narrowcast provider spitting out content on channels that fulfill some ghastly and wholly insulting demographic profile: soccer mum, trailer trash, teenager, gay, black music lover, Essex girl, sports fan, bored housewife – all watching programmes specifically for them with ads targeting them. Is that what we mean by inclusivity? Is that what we mean by plurality? God help us. I do hope not. […]”
The full transcript is on the BBC website.