BBC4 to be axed this month?

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Mike S
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BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Mike S »

Should we be concerned about this, or is the Mail just shit-stirring as usual?:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... C4-go.html

RobinCarmody
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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by RobinCarmody »

BBC Four in its current form has rather settled back into the false dichotomy that characterised the BBC during the Savile era; it's at least as good as it's ever been when it comes to the traditional high-cultural subjects and the particular strengths of old-school public broadcasting, but when it comes to pop and rock music and related subjects there is a depressing desire to keep it on the same restricted level which was the greatest fault of Reithianism (and which, as we now know, was a moral double standard which allowed grotesque abuses to happen), as if it again isn't allowed to escape its allocated role in the hierarchy of art forms. Compare its programmes on Robert Wyatt, John Martyn, Richard Thompson, Vivian Stanshall, Ivor Cutler, Mark E. Smith and the Penman/Morley-era NME to what it has offered in the last few years and you cannot dispute that there has been a narrowing, a return to comfortable divisions of responsibility and overall inertia, a million times more Oxbridge 1962 than redbrick / plateglass 1972.

(Here's what I had to say about it some time back: http://in-the-cage.blogspot.co.uk/2012/ ... hy-of.html )

But then that is probably impossible to avoid with a government like this breathing down the BBC's neck. And obviously that is no justification for restricting and reducing the BBC's role still further. Axing DJ Q and Young Lion was bad enough. And BBC Three is equally justifiable in its own way.

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Bernie
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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Bernie »

I wouldn't normally comment, because Robin is far too intellectual for me to understand, but I'd just like to say that there never was a "Savile era". He was just a performer amongst huge numbers of others. Most people would have spent their whole careers at the BBC never ever seeing him, nor having their work in any way influenced by him.

As for BBC4 going - maybe, who knows? Maybe BBC3, but that would leave an untidy hole in the system, so BBC4 would need to be rebranded. I would be sad if BBC4 went, but then I'm of an age that I've never ever watched a BBC3 programme.

Certainly the BBC is having a lot of trouble trying to work out its role in modern broadcasting, and indeed in the modern media world. This has been true for more than a decade now with no clear answer from anyone, even those paid huge amounts of money to do so.

B

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by stearn »

Based on Jonathan's reasoning, he and his brother should be merged as they too are similar.

If either BBC3 of 4 are axed, do they intend to leave the 'channel' space empty as they occupy the other halves of CBBC and CBeebies. I would have thought clearing a whole channel that could then be used elsewhere/by someone else would provide a better and clearer saving.

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by gallifreyan »

Bernie wrote:Certainly the BBC is having a lot of trouble trying to work out its role in modern broadcasting, and indeed in the modern media world. This has been true for more than a decade now with no clear answer from anyone, even those paid huge amounts of money to do so.

B
Those being paid huge amounts to come up with an answer are the least likely to try to find it. After all, if they did then they'd be out of a job that paid huge amounts of money....

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Brock »

In these days of digital broadcasting, why does the number of channels need to be fixed? On digital radio you've got Radio 5 Live Sports Extra as a part-time channel, and there's also a Radio 4 "side channel" that appears and disappears to carry programmes that are otherwise on long wave only. If it's too expensive to run BBC3 and/or BBC4 in their current form, couldn't they be cut back to three or four days a week each?

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Der Stürmer The Mail hates BBC3 for being low-brow, and BBC for being high-brow, so they are hardly an impartial reporter. Merging BBC2 and BBC4 might work, but in that case surely some BBC2 content would have to be displaced, returning the channel to its roots?
"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo." [Wells]

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Juswuh »

Without wanting to sound bitter I think BBC4 would be no great loss.

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Mike S »

The idea of a BBC2/BBC4 merger makes my heart sink. What would happen is BBC2 would remain exactly the same, except the most popular stuff on BBC4 would transfer across. Just like when comics 'joined forces'. All the spiky highbrow stuff (thin on the ground as it already is) would go, as would all of the archive repeats.

Ideally, BBC2 would become spiky and highbrow, just like it used to be. But who's actually going to ensure that this happens?

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Juswuh »

I can't think of a single thing on BBC4 that I'd call "spiky highbrow" - "tepid" and "boring" are more the words that come to mind.

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Mike S »

Jonathan Meades' stuff?

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Mike S »

BBC4 does resemble a channel that's dying, that's the sad thing. Its schedules look very tired, and there's an awful lot of filler. It get the horrible feeling it's been run into the ground so that its disappearance won't be seen as any great tragedy.

I just wonder if, were it to be axed, there'd be a 6 Music-style campaign to reverse the decision. Do BBC4 defenders even exist in any great numbers?

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Juswuh wrote:I can't think of a single thing on BBC4 that I'd call "spiky highbrow" - "tepid" and "boring" are more the words that come to mind.
You're really not a fan, are you?
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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Juswuh »

Credit where it's due, BBC4 put on "Spiral" and I'll be very disappointed if we don't get to see series 5. But most of what they put out is just so bloody unadventurous.

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Mike S »

It's certainly not the channel it was in 2002...is that a reason to axe it, though, or a reason to make it better?

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Juswuh »

The question is, what would "better" consist of? I could see it being revamped along the lines of modern Channel 4, with Porn Britannia and Lucy Worsley Presents Victorian Lesbian Cokeheads.

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Robin Davies »

I thought this place of all places would be the last to dump on BBC4 which is still easily the best TV channel.

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Mike S »

Not least because all of its archive repeats would go. I can't see BBC2 bothering - they'd probably cost too much to clear on a terrestrial channel anyway.

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Scary »

stearn wrote:If either BBC3 of 4 are axed, do they intend to leave the 'channel' space empty as they occupy the other halves of CBBC and CBeebies. I would have thought clearing a whole channel that could then be used elsewhere/by someone else would provide a better and clearer saving.
The thing is that it's not as if the BBC can close a whole service and save a shed load of money by tuning off a transmitter network, i's just a chunk of bandwidth on a system that carries all their other services too. Also all the distribution and playout is done by private companies so the saving from them will be marginal if any at all.

Closing CBBC and BBC4 and selling the bandwidth on the BBC MUX to someone else would be a very controversial move... unless it was someone like S4C

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Brock »

Scary wrote:
stearn wrote:If either BBC3 of 4 are axed, do they intend to leave the 'channel' space empty as they occupy the other halves of CBBC and CBeebies. I would have thought clearing a whole channel that could then be used elsewhere/by someone else would provide a better and clearer saving.
The thing is that it's not as if the BBC can close a whole service and save a shed load of money by tuning off a transmitter network, i's just a chunk of bandwidth on a system that carries all their other services too.
Exactly. Which comes back to my earlier question: why not a part-time network along the lines of 5 Live Sports Extra? If it works on radio, it can surely work on television.

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Brock »

Mike S wrote:Not least because all of its archive repeats would go. I can't see BBC2 bothering - they'd probably cost too much to clear on a terrestrial channel anyway.
What do you mean by "terrestrial"? All the BBC's channels are terrestrial. There used to be a distinction between analogue terrestrial and digital terrestrial, but that's now gone.

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Mike S »

Isn't it more expensive to repeat stuff on BBC2 than it is on BBC4? Or has that changed now?

In any case, I can't see BBC2 continuing with TOTP.

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Brock »

Mike S wrote:Isn't it more expensive to repeat stuff on BBC2 than it is on BBC4? Or has that changed now?
Dunno, but I can't see why it should be. They're just two digital channels funded by the licence fee.

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Scary »

Brock wrote:Exactly. Which comes back to my earlier question: why not a part-time network along the lines of 5 Live Sports Extra? If it works on radio, it can surely work on television.
If it happens I suspect the bandwidth will go towards a peak time Red Button channel or similar. Although quite a lot of the Red Button content could quite easily go onto their main channels, thus saving them money on content

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Clive »

Do you not think that even if the distribution network is managed by a private company, the BBC pay a vast amount to that company to distribute their channels such as BBC4? There is a massive amount of money that the BBC could save by chopping a channel...

My own opinion is that OTA TV is coming to an end, who needs schedules and TV channels when IP TV such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer are becoming a standard way to watch TV ? I rarely watch any scheduled TV these days as TIVO and Netflix do a good job of telling me what I want to watch..

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Mickey »

#SaveBBC3 is trending on Twitter at the moment. No mention of BBC4. Lots of indignant squealing!

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Brock »

Clive wrote:Do you not think that even if the distribution network is managed by a private company, the BBC pay a vast amount to that company to distribute their channels such as BBC4? There is a massive amount of money that the BBC could save by chopping a channel...
Well, maybe (as Tony Hall suggested the other day) they could ask people like me who only watch via iPlayer to cough up a few quid. I wouldn't object, although I'd rather it was on a pay-per-view basis than having to shell out the entire licence fee.

In fact, now that the whole thing's gone digital it might as well be funded by pay-per-view. What's the point of "channels" anyway?

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Mike S »

Brock wrote: In fact, now that the whole thing's gone digital it might as well be funded by pay-per-view. What's the point of "channels" anyway?
Because if everything was pay-per-view, nothing even vaguely niche would survive. The whole beauty of the BBC is that the popular programmes 'carry' the more interesting stuff.

Some anti-LF types seem to think that, because they pay the fee, the majority (or at least a large minority) of BBC shows should be their cup of tea. No - that's not how it works. If you enjoy as much as 1% of their output, you're doing very well out of the deal.

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Clive »

I know that in the US (and even here in Sweden..) that the cost of distributing content via the terrestrial over the air network is not commercially viable as most viewers are watching via cable or the internet.

The UK has a much higher proportion of over the air viewers, but why not make either BBC3 or BBC4 iPlayer only channels and so avoid distribution costs towards the terrestrial broadcast network ?

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Re: BBC4 to be axed this month?

Post by Brock »

Mike S wrote:
Brock wrote: In fact, now that the whole thing's gone digital it might as well be funded by pay-per-view. What's the point of "channels" anyway?
Because if everything was pay-per-view, nothing even vaguely niche would survive. The whole beauty of the BBC is that the popular programmes 'carry' the more interesting stuff.
Well, then you just charge less (or even nothing) for the more interesting stuff. I'm not proposing the abolition of the BBC's public service remit, merely the funding model.

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