Its not just in music and radio that the BBC distorts the market and creates an unfair playing field. It has the same effect on the UK's online space. Even though the BBC is neither a newspaper nor magazine it competes with its huge online prescence, paid for by the taxpayer via the TV tax.
The Conservatives have been complaining about this Gorilla in the room before:
Back in 2003, John Whittingdale, the Shadow Culture Secretary of the time, said that the website should be closed down. Last year, Phillip Davies, another Conservative, said: "Basically the BBC with its massive licence fee does completely distort the market and makes it virtually impossible for its competitors." But given bbc.co.uk's popularity, closing it down would not be a sensible option for any government.
The trouble is that the BBC is trying to do all things media and its site suffers for it. Its not just the Conservatives that are concerned about this either:
Do we really have to count on the BBC to reveal that "Blue Square Premier side Tamworth have completed the signing of former West Brom youngster Anthony Bruce"? Surely this would be better left to theTamworth Herald's website, or the Blue Square Premier's site, or theNon-League Paper. Tamworth are, after all, a non-league football team which last season had an average gate of only 815.
Harry Underwood has it right. This is why Murdoch is mad enough to start charging for content.