The letter to Labour in full

Labour warned that UK creative economy would be damaged if BBC introduces advertising

Press Release · London, UK ·

A coalition of commercial media and content businesses, including broadcasters, audio producers and publishers have written to the Labour Party to warn of damage to the UK’s creative industries and the content provided for audiences if the BBC is allowed to go ahead with plans to introduce advertising around its audio content in the UK for the first time.

Yesterday (Thursday 13th June) the Labour Party published its election manifesto which highlights the huge potential for growth in the creative industries that benefit every corner of the UK. In a letter to Thangam Debbonaire, Shadow Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, the 15 signatories, including small businesses as well as some of the UK’s foremost media brands, highlight the devastating impact of such a change for consumers, licence fee payers and the creative economy.

The BBC’s services are currently funded by £3.8bn in licence fee income. Commercial media businesses rely primarily on advertising revenues, which would be eroded significantly if the BBC also sought to generate advertising. This would inevitably reduce the ability of commercial operators – across radio, news, television and podcasting – to invest in content and services for audiences.

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Last month, Radiocentre – the industry body for commercial radio – joined a wide coalition of media and content business who wrote to Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, to highlight concerns with the BBC’s plans and to request that Ofcom conduct an urgent review of the audio and podcast market.

Radiocentre CEO Matt Payton said:

“Our creative sector is a success story that provides British audiences with world-leading content and services. All of this could be put at risk if the BBC goes ahead with plans to introduce advertising, starting with audio and podcasts.

Audiences understandably do not expect advertising around BBC content, which they have already paid for through the licence fee. We hope that this issue will be addressed swiftly when parliament returns after the election and that Ofcom will exercise its powers to prevent the BBC from introducing such a damaging change.”

This is a press release which we link to from Podnews, our daily newsletter about podcasting and on-demand. We may make small edits for editorial reasons.

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