Eno’s BBC Plea

Brian Eno & friend

OK – I was forwarded an email from Brian Eno this afternoon, asking people to circulate it as widely as possible. To declare an interest, I work for the BBC where the cynically-named Delivering Quality First cuts are about to take a bite out of my little corner of the world.

So if this had come from some BBC apparatchick or other interested party like myself I’d have thought twice about posting it here and on Twitter. But since the tirade came from Eno who has no particular axe to grind on the subject, it seemed worth passing on:

“Every year the BBC is forced to hand over tens of millions to Murdoch’s BSkyB, under a hugely unfair law unprecedented in any other country. The BBC has to pay BSkyB for broadcasting BBC content – which in turn forms over 40% of BSkyB’s viewing. Does that make any sense to you?

But pressure is mounting on Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to end this idiocy. I’ve just sent him a message to make sure he does — click here to send your own message:

However there are two sides to everything. On Twitter @shoottheducks has just pointed me at this Guardian article by BSkyB’s commercial director Rob Webster putting the counter-argument. Hey – make you own mind up.

BskyB's Rob Webster

Tom Robinson

London-based broadcaster & songwriter, born 1950. His best known songs are 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Glad To Be Gay and War Baby; he has also co-written songs with Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché. Read More...


  1. Hi yes it could seem a little counter intuitive that the bbc have to pay sky to carry their content, but actually this is no different to the bbc having to pay for the upkeep of its terrestrial broadcast infrastructure, this is just a transport argument, sky have a space programme, the bbc do not. £5 / 10 /20m is tiny small beer in the grand scheme of the bbc revenue of approx £5.1bn, so shouldn’t be used as an excuse by the bbc for cutting programming in any form.

    I do appreciate as the bbc is a public service broadcaster that it is in the unenviable position of being a political football, making a profit is obviously ‘bad’, paying people properly for the work they do is ‘bad’, licence fees are ‘bad’, costs are rising and the sky is falling in, the list goes on and on.

    the bbc will never be all things to all people but in the grand scheme of things it does a pretty good job of turning the licence fee into TV and radio programmes. I’m proud to be British & to know that a small part of the licence fee, pays for the bbc to broadcast it’s content via a couple of Astra’s parked in geo-stationary orbit 22236 miles away.

Comments are now closed for this article.