AMCO urges the BBC to take on sponsorship

The BBC should sell off its local radio stations to the commercial sector and be allowed to seek sponsorship for certain television programmes, according to The Association of Media & Communications Specialists.

This week, AMCO publishes A Time For Change – the BBC in the 21st Century, to coincide with Government disclosure of plans for BBC charter renewal in 1996.

The licence fee should be scrapped, according to AMCO. “Other sources of funding must be devised if the BBC’s position as a cultural bastion is to be preserved in a much more competitive media world,” it says.

However, spot advertising is not an option for the BBC, AMCO claims. This would push BBC1 into a battle for ratings, eventually turning it into ITV2.

Even so, the report concludes that the BBC should be allowed to take sponsorship for key televised sports and live events, such as music. This would enable it to bid for these programmes more competitively, and ensure they are seen by the widest possible audience, says AMCO.

Secretary of State for National Heritage Virginia Bottomley announced plans for the 100m privatisation of the BBC transmitter system this week, along with details of the BBC’s draft charter.

The charter includes new rules to curb portrayals of sex and violence on BBC TV immediately after the 9pm watershed. It also includes a commitment for the BBC to extend its commercial services alongside its licence fee-funded output.

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