First, the magazine industry lobbied MPs hard about the way the BBC moved into their business, using its own free ads for its own products to gain entry to their market. Next, the local and regional papers lobbied MPs about the impact the free BBC web and media service was having on their sales. Now James Murdoch points out the obvious main concern – the stronger the BBC brand and web offer is, the less private sector competitors can charge for news and views and the less plurality and choice there will be. THe BBC web offer is paid for by a poll tax which others cannot share or levy.
There needs to be a new settlement, to promote a vigorous and diverse media. We want the digital revolution to open up and sustain more choice and diversity of opinion, not to reinforce an old statist centralising system.