TV Licenses for BBC Online Services

The Huffington Post reports that the upcoming budget will see the BBC acquire responsibility for the every growing number of free TV licenses in exchange for inflation linked increase in the TV license and the extension of the license onto on demand services, iPlayer services. The current settlement has always been problematic and while the extension to the license fee to on-demand services makes sense it only does so with a refocusing of the materials it covers. Yes its crazy that you can watch Dr. Who an hour later without needing a TV license on iPlayer. Its also crazy that you need a TV license to watch Eurosport Player delivered over IP.

I personally don’t have a TV License but have used iPlayer to watch Doctor Who and TopGear on catch-up. Currently I almost exclusively watch Youtube, TWIT and Netflix so will the new style TV license also be required to view these services, even though they are produced, hosted and managed overseas?

I do actually believe that the BBC and the license fee offers exceptional value for money for many people its just that I prefer to consume content focused around my personal interests rather than share a viewing experience with the majority.

Additionally while the move of BBC 3 to an online service was clearly planned with the license fee parameter change in mind, how does the BBC plan to retain relevance if it increasingly moves content that consumers are paying for away from its terrestrial broadcast base? You could imagine a situation of BBC 1 and 2 catering almost exclusively to the free TV license holders very soon.

So if I was to revisit TV licensing these are the questions I think need to be resolved,

  • BBC funding
  • Parliamentary Engagement
  • Broadcast Fibre / Internet Provision
  • Content Creation

I think the solution to these challenges is the actually the opposite path to the once currently be followed.

Firstly abandoned the TV broadcast licensee before it at best becomes irrelevant or at worst a means by which other online content providers are suppressed.

Secondly switching funding to core BBC services such as news, education, parliamentary activity and world service to general taxation.

Finally seek to monetise the extensive back catalogue through subscription based services, imagine iPlayer with every Top Of The Pops 2 for on demand streaming under a subscription service.

The Greeks vote no Democracy vs Capitalism

The Greek people, eligible to vote, have voted to reject the bailout offer. This presents a clear clash between democracy and capitalism essentially the root of the last few months of turmoil.

The citizenry of a nation have chosen a path and have done so again even though it is incompatible with the current interpretation of capitalist theory and the implementation of sovereign, individual and national debt. This is the key moment were the ECB and the EU need to start looking beyond the preservation of the current broken system and consider what next. (This Forbes article has an interesting discussion about the craziness of the current situation.) The reason the what next question is now so important is that unless a new agreement can be made on Greek terms a sovereign default situation will occur and this expose the lie once more that everything pays it debts. The lie that once dis-proven caused the American mortgage crash and the global banking crisis.

So who will win democracy or capitalism?

Yanis Varoufakis on the Referendum

An interesting press conference in which Yanis Varoufakis discuss the government action in calling a referendum due to his lack of mandate to except the then current (27/6/15) proposal but also interestingly responding to the fact while he may not have a mandate to except it the nation could choose to do so.

It is refreshing to hear a leader discuss the idea of mandate and the need for a majority one.

Greece and Euro Madness

So Greece will go to a referendum to decided if it will accept a proposal its government does not have a mandate to accept on its peoples behalf and of course people start to panic.

While the narrative of southern European excess appears attractive and is often cited as the root cause of the ongoing messy I personally think that blame perhaps lies rather with the irresponsible lenders who choose to lend money with the expectation or finical reward.

Which ever way you prefer the narrative I think the situation is actually quite simple, there is a load of money (which exists only in the way that all money exists as a construct) that will never be paid back. Now what has to be decided it what the consequences of this situation are. Possible options are there are no consequences, take what ever your offered, invade the country and enslave the population and anything between including raise tax, cut benefits and create a never ending debt burden.

Now of course traditionally the consequences of not paying back your debts are seizure, usury and that no one will lend you any more money. However when lenders business model is based around lending people money those rules doesn’t quite work and when as a nation you represent lots of people the rules are even less relevant. The above actions are apparently acceptable and just, a point I care not argue, but when pushed to there conclusion I fear will result in not just the Greek exit from the Euro but also the degradation of diplomatic relationships.

Say what you will about the European project and with the UK it appears we will get the opportunity to speak on this issue in the near future but it seams obvious that the relative peace within Europe in recent years is surly because of the efforts of European nations to collaborate rather than compete. I fear that this may be the ultimate cost of the Greek exit not an embarrassment of the ECB, IMF and EU, not the danger of ongoing Euro devaluations rather a chip at the bedrock of peace within Europe.

So what if the question becomes write of Greek debt to sustain peace in Europe does it become worth it?

I’m going to leave it there for now, but quick hit and run points, writing of debt is dangerous as its contagious but who cares when the system is this broken? Finally imagine that every person in your city has their house repossessed where do you sleep that night?

Could Trickle Down Economics be Dead

While certainly America focused, Joseph Stiglitz offers an interpretation of current finical inequalities in relationship to Trickle Down Theory.

In fact even the IMF is no longer persuaded (with a 90% confidence interval (just short of the preferred 95% standard)).