Let’s say there’s a virtually unregulated business, open to all comers in the
private sector, in which a state-owned company, which receives subsidies from
the state, competes. We all know that state-owned companies are pretty inefficient,
so the private sector is likely to enter the competitive fray anyway. But once
it does, it’s a bit rich to then start complaining about how unfair it is that
the private sector has to compete with that state-owned operator.
But complain the private sector does, at
great length, especially when the British parliament is about to decide
on the rate of increase of the BBC license fee. If you want to see every "whingeing
Pom" stereotype confirmed, just read that article. Look what you find:
The BBC is experimenting with ultra-local TV reports, where areas with a population
of about 1 million get a 10-minute news report each day. Apparently, if this
takes off, then local radio stations and local newspapers will go bust, and
it will all be the fault of the BBC.
The BBC is working on its website. This could kill the internet, at least according
to Jon Gisby, media vice-president for Yahoo Europe, who says:
If implemented, the BBC’s proposals could have a big impact on products
that are already commercially available and could stifle innovation and prevent
new business models and partnerships emerging in an increasingly global market.
And the list goes on. Condé Nast complains about the BBC’s magazines.
Commercial radio stations complain about BBC radio. Music labels complain about
the BBC offering music on the BBC website. And Philippe Cayla, the chairman
of commercial TV operation Euro News, complains about BBC World:
Our view is that the BBC would do better for its licence-fee payers if it
went into partnership with Euro News rather than tried to develop BBC World
any further, especially in Europe. It would be far cheaper, and would avoid
Ah yes. Competition is a bad thing, and should be allowed only if strictly
necessary. So remind me why Euro News is allowed to operate again?
The BBC is one of the things that Britain does really well, and its website,
in particular, is excellent. If the BBC owns an orchestra – in fact it
owns quite a few – then it makes all the sense in the world to promote
classical music by offering free downloads now and then. This is good
for the classical music industry. But of course one shouldn’t take anything
in the article at face value, since it appears in a Murdoch paper, and Rupert
Murdoch, the owner of BSkyB, is the BBC’s biggest competitor. All’s fair in
media and competition, I guess.