Britain appoints executives from rival media companies to advise on BBC

Britain's culture secretary appointed eight advisers to a panel considering changes to the British Broadcasting Corporation, including executives who have worked for rival media organisations.
Britain's culture secretary appointed eight advisers to a panel considering changes to the British Broadcasting Corporation, including executives who have worked for rival media organisations.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Britain's culture secretary appointed eight advisers to a panel considering changes to the British Broadcasting Corporation, including executives who have worked for rival media organisations.

Members of the committee, which will meet up to six times a year, include Ashley Highfield, chief executive officer of publisher Johnston Press, and Dawn Airey, an executive at Yahoo and former CEO of Channel 5, the government said in a statement on Sunday.

The BBC's "imperial" ambitions for providing content creates the risk it could "completely crowd out national newspapers," Chancellor George Osborne said last week in an interview with the broadcaster.

The cost of funding free TV licenses for people over 75 years old will be transferred from the government to the BBC between 2018 and 2021, Mr Osborne said in his budget speech Wednesday.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale will lead the government's renewal of the royal charter funding the BBC after the current one expires at the end of 2016.

Possible changes to the decade-long settlement could include less consumer-focused programming, a replacement of the license fee, scrapping the BBC Trust and outsourcing or privatising production, the Sunday Times reported Sunday.