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BBC chief to warn over scaling back

Director-general Tony Hall will warn that scaling back the BBC too far will leave a nation dominated by "global gatekeepers and American taste-makers".

The director-general is expected to say the corporation is at "a crossroads" and that the licence fee - which is not currently required to watch catch-up TV on iPlayer - must be amended to cover "catch-up television as soon as possible".

In a speech at New Broadcasting House in central London, he will say: " Down one path lies a BBC reduced in impact and reach in a world of global giants. Damaging the UK's creative industries.

"A sleep-walk in to decay for the BBC, punching below its weight abroad, and Britain diminished as a result. Which means a UK dominated by global gatekeepers and American taste-makers.

"Down the other path is a strong BBC helping bind the country together at home and championing it abroad. A British creative beacon to the world. Providing a universal service for a universal fee. An internet-first BBC which belongs to everyone and where everyone belongs. A BBC celebrating its 100th birthday but with its best days ahead of it."

The speech will also touch on last week's select committee report that said the licence fee was becoming "harder and harder to justify".

He will tell his audience: "We've always said that the licence fee should be updated to reflect changing times.

"I welcome the committee's endorsement of our proposal to make people pay the licence fee even if they only watch catch-up television. The committee has suggested another route to modernising the licence fee - a universal household levy.

"Both proposals have the same goal in mind: adapting the licence fee for the internet age. This is vital. Because I believe we need and we will need what the licence fee - in whatever form - makes happen more than ever."

He will also sketch out a vision for the corporation which he says will let the "a udience become schedulers".

Using the corporation's high-brow historical drama, Wolf Hall, as an example, he will say that using more personal data will allow the corporation to start "g uiding you to the best of the BBC's content about the Tudors or radio shows about historical novels.The potential is huge to let our audience become schedulers."

He will add: " This is the start of a real transformation - the myBBC revolution. How to reinvent public service broadcasting through data. But we will always be doing it the BBC way - not telling you what customers like you bought, but what citizens like you would love to watch and need to know."

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