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Channel 4, ITV take aim at BBC

BBC New Broadcasting HouseBritish commercial broadcasters Channel 4 and ITV have made separate complaints about publicly-owned rival the BBC.

Channel 4’s gripe is over plans to close a loophole that would stop viewers from accessing BBC content online through the BBC iPlayer without paying the licence fee, while ITV wants the corporation to stop buying formats.

Both channels made their feelings known in submissions to the Conservative government’s inquiry into the role of the BBC.

Channel 4 claims to government plan to close the loophole as part of the upcoming licence fee Charter renewal deal would damage the UK’s commercial channels as they would also have to block users from access their on-demand platforms, namely ITV Player, All4 and Demand 5.

“We believe that the current proposals are poorly targeted, placing an additional burden on commercial PSBs who receive no benefit from the licence fee,” Channel 4 said in a submission to government committee.

Channel 4’s chairman, Lord Burns, has repeatedly called for the licence fee to be scrapped and a pay TV-style subscription model applied in its place.

ITV, meanwhile, used its submission to attack the organisation for buying high-profile international formats such as The Voice. Historically, ITV was at one point in the driving seat to buy the Talpa Media format, but was piped to the post.

ITV wants the government to veto the BBC from buying any finished US programmes for its channels, and for it to only buy any international format as a “last resort” if its commercial rivals have turned down a deal.

“There is a far better case for the BBC to be compelled to invest the money it currently spends on acquisitions on original UK films,” according to ITV. “Such an investment would turbocharge the UK film industry.”

Tags: BBC, Channel 4, ITV