But the BBC shouldn't be competing with Amazon and Netflix

The BBC is gearing up for another raid upon our wallets:

The BBC is fighting against American streaming giants with "one hand tied behind its back", Lord Hall will say, as he as he warns of a future of television without British shows.

The correct answer is that the BBC can go boil their heads.

Outlining the scale of competition, he will reference studies which found Netflix is spending $8bn a year on content, Amazon is spending $5bn, and Britain’s public service broadcasters combined, including the BBC and Channel 4, are spending £2.5bn.

“Beyond the steps the BBC may take, Britain also needs to do more to support the broader PSB ecology,” Lord Hall will say.

“It cannot be right that the UK’s media industry is competing against global giants with one hand tied behind its back.

We pay taxes so that the BBC can make all those programmes. There is an entirely respectable theory behind this idea, that of public goods. For complex reasons, but reasonable ones, markets unadorned don’t produce perhaps enough of such public goods. That’s the argument in favour of government either promoting their production or actually producing them.

And yes, that actually is the argument in favour of the BBC and its tax funding - yes the licence fee is a tax, Gordon Brown finally admitted it. It’s also the only valid argument in favour of the BBC and its tax funding.

The argument being put forward here is that those market actors are producing lots and lots of what the BBC would or could produce. The BBC should therefore gain more resources (oh yes, this is leading to an insistence that they should gain more of our money) so as to be able to compete. But that’s a violation of our original justification for the BBC, isn’t it? That we’ve a public goods problem here, that the market isn’t producing enough.

We cannot say it’s a public good, therefore tax financing, and also say that we need more tax because the market is producing lots of those now no longer public goods.

Yes, quite, the BBC can go boil their heads.