The proposed privatization of BBC Worldwide


News that BBC Worldwide - the corporation's commercial arm - has been put on a list of public assets that could be for sale as part of a government "operational efficiency programme", and that this is now backed by the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications is welcome, but not for reasons of operational efficiency.

The committee has it right when it says that a privatised company "would be capable of becoming a major global brand for distributing UK content". This begs the real question - why isn't the BBC that now? Why is it a localised brand that does not distribute well across the globe?

One of the reasons I have always favoured privatising the BBC is that I believe its total reliance on public funding damages British media. It creates a quaint organisation, with its peculiar "Auntie Beeb" culture; arrogant, statist, often inward-looking, prone to artisitic cliques, and always struggling with rationed resources. Letting the Beeb go free would make it go fully global, levering its huge competitive advantage - the English language - and able to take on the world through its creative genius and anarchic energy.

Yes, get BBC Worldwide out there in the global media marketplace, not just to make money today, but so that it's executives can come back to the broadcasting priesthood in White City and explain to them where tomorrow's money can be made from new audiences - by a commercialised BBC.