A wide-ranging review into the BBC’s future purpose and funding has been announced by Culture Secretary John Whittingdale.
The corporation currently operates 9 TV television channels, 10 national radio stations, and one of the UK’s most popular websites.
Ministers say the review will examine whether “this particular range of services best serves licence fee payers and the impact it has on the commercial sector given the current and future media environment.”
Other issues to be considered include how the corporation is funded and whether the BBC Trust, which oversees the broadcaster’s executive managers on behalf of Licence Fee payers, should be reformed or abolished.
Mr Whittingdale paid tribute to the BBC’s ability to adapt to changes in the UK’s broadcasting landscape and said it “remains much-loved by audiences, a valuable engine of growth and an international benchmark for television, radio, online and journalism.”
However he said it was now time to consider the BBC’s role in an age where viewers had more choice than ever before, this could include refocusing the corporation’s content away from mass entertainment shows and onto areas less likely to be served by commercial broadcasters.
Whittingdale commented: “We need to ask some hard questions during this Charter Review. Questions about what the BBC should be trying to achieve in an age where consumer choice is now far more extensive than it has been, what its scale and scope should be in the light of those aims, how far it affects others in television, radio and online, and what the right structures are for its governance and regulation.”
Responding to the review, the BBC said some of the Government’s proposals “would appear to herald a much diminished, less popular BBC.”
“That would be bad for Britain and would not be the BBC that the public has known and loved for over 90 years. It is important that we hear what the public want. It should be for the public to decide whether programmes like Strictly or Bake Off, or stations like Radio One or Two, should continue.”