Government plans for the BBC include new content funding

The government published its plans yesterday for reform of the BBC. Although not as sweeping as had been predicted beforehand, they are planning significant changes to the oversight structure - abolishing the BBC Trust and replacing it with a new unitary board. The composition of this board, and how many of its directors will be appointed by the government rather than the BBC, has been the greatest point of contention so far.

All in-house television production, except news and current affairs, will be opened to full competition for external companies to produce, in an effort to further boost the independent TV sector. Furthermore, a new £20million per year contestable fund will be piloted to support the creation of new public service content for other places than the BBC, including online, with the intention to reach under-served audiences.

Ukie will push for this to be made available for innovative and interactive content, including games, to ensure that a truly wide range of audiences can be reached. We have been lobbying for some time for public service funding from broadcasters to be used more effectively to help grow the independent interactive entertainment and games development sector, not just the independent TV sector.

Funding will remain consistent for the BBC overall, with the licence fee rising in line with inflation, the loophole being closed by which people can currently watch iPlayer without paying the licence fee, and the BBC potentially being allowed to offer new services on a paid subscription basis.

You can read the government's white paper on the DCMS website. They will now turn their proposals into a formal draft Charter over the course of the summer, and have stated that they want the final version to come into effect from 1 January 2017.