BBC launches defence of popular programming like The Voice
The BBC has launched a defence of popular programming like The Voice, saying that licence fee payers expect the BBC to "deliver entertainment".
In "an evidence-based response" to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale's green paper on its future, the corporation hit back at whether it should have a more "precisely targeted" mission in terms of its output.
"The public wants and expects the BBC to deliver entertainment. Competition on a Saturday night has been part of the TV landscape for generations and drives up quality with the viewer being the winner with better programmes," the broadcaster stated.
In a briefing summarising the response, which is more than 100 pages, the BBC said the broader debate has, to date, been "too heavy on assertion, rather than fact".
Culturally, economically, and globally, the corporation insisted it is an asset to Britain, adding "far from having a negative impact on competition, the BBC is in fact an engine for growth".
And with an eye on rival broadcasters, such as ITV or Sky, the corporation a sserted: "Far from crowding others out, we attract investment in."
The document underlines the corporation's commitment to reform for a BBC that is "distinctive, independent, universal and open".
To achieve those aims, the broadcaster is putting forward a radical programme of reform. Among the proposals is creating a unitary board to run itself, which would avoid a situation where the BBC currently has representation split between the BBC executive board and the BBC Trust board.
In addition, for the first time, the BBC has called for an 11-year Charter - to replace the current 10 year period - to avoid Charter renewal coinciding with the year after general elections. The next one is due in 2016.
The BBC also opposes the privatisation of BBC Worldwide and argues for licence fee payers to be formally consulted in debates about its role and funding.
The broadcaster is determined to make greater levels of efficiency savings over the first five years of the next Charter.
A BBC source said: "The BBC is an asset for Britain. One that will have to change and evolve, but at the heart of that change must be the recognition that the public don't want a narrowly focused BBC. They want one that produces great programmes and offers Britain a strong voice abroad."
The source added: "We want to continue to work constructively with Government to ensure the public has a BBC they can continue to be proud of."