Vaizey’s proposals on the BBC (for greater transparency) highlight an even greater issue. Why should the BBC have special privileges at all? The BBC charter states that the organisation’s mission is “to inform, educate and entertain”. However, whilst there is a case for, free access public service TV, for the education and the transfer of vital information, there is none for entertainment; especially in a multi-channel-stream world. The BBC has no exclusive power to entertain, and whilst I enjoy many of their programmes, they need not be made by the BBC, or forced on others. In addition and most importantly, if they are enjoyable then people will voluntarily pay for them through the market, just as they do with other goods.
Also, if one were to support a free access public TV services for vital information and/or education, there is no technical reason to use only one institution; inhibiting efficiency and innovation. The best method would be to offer the contracts on a competitive basis (and if the BBC were the best, then they of course they would get the contract).
Instead, the BBC could survive commercially like other channels through a mix of advertising, subscription services and other commercial mechanisms rather than forcing itself on the public. Let all the viewers decide what they want to watch, how, when and where.