The BBC’s biggest challenge is staying relevant, its director general has admitted. Tim Davie made the comments today at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference in Birmingham.
Mr Davie spoke about the strength of the BBC in the nations and regions of the UK.
He also discussed the need for reform of the 100-year-old corporation, which was founded in 1922.
Mr Davie told business chiefs: “The BBC’s biggest challenge is relevance.”
His comments come a new report found the BBC boosts the growth of creative industries across the UK.
The research by PwC showed a 15 percent increase in the BBC’s local footprint doubles the rate of growth of the surrounding creative industries over time.
Mr Davie said: “We’ve seen the significant impact the BBC has on creative economies regionally with greater growth, new creative businesses and more highly skilled jobs.
“We have delivered big moves for TV, radio and news content, better representing and reflecting audiences across the UK, and we are committed to doing more.
“We think there is an opportunity not just for the BBC but for the wider creative industries to accelerate growth, and we’d be delighted to work with other institutions and businesses to achieve that.”
His comments come as the corporation faces ongoing questions over the future of its funding.
The existence of the licence fee is guaranteed until at least 31 December 2027 by the royal charter which sets out its purpose.
The licence fee pays for all the BBC’s services including TV, radio, its website, podcast, iPlayer and apps.
But the broadcaster is facing tough competition from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries in January announced the licence fee would be frozen at £159 for two years.
And she signalled she wants a new funding model by 2027 when the royal charter is up for renewal.
She said at the time: “I cannot see a world in 2028 where individual households are paying an outdated fee which was established in 1922 to fund such an organisation.
“I do not think anyone could ever have seen what a digital landscape would be like today, what the viewing habits of young people would be like today or what the opportunities will be in 2028.”
Ms Dorries’ successor Michelle Donelan has previously said the licence fee should be scrapped.
Speaking in September, Mr Davie told the Royal Television Society that the funding model was the “least bad option” currently available.
He said: “The licence fee is not perfect but it’s allowed the BBC to keep to its mission, kept it independent and impartial and provided certainty of funding in the medium term.”
It comes after reports Rishi Sunak is set to shelve the proposed privatisation of Channel 4.
Boris Johnson’s Government had drawn up plans to privatise the public service broadcaster, which is owned by the state but self-funded through advertising in a modernisation bid.
But the sale of Channel 4 will reportedly be dropped from the upcoming media bill.