Potential reforms could force the BBC to considerably restrict its current offerings. Reports indicate that plans could lead to a reduction in the number of BBC television channels, a significantly scaled back website and the majority of radio stations sold. UK Government also wants highly paid BBC stars, who receive excess income from other work, to be forced to donate these extra earnings to charity. Officials see the corporation as becoming increasingly outdated with the emergence of streaming sites such as Netflix.
The BBC plans to stop giving free licenses to over 75s who don’t receive pension credit from June 2020. This has been largely criticized and will affect 3.7 million people from 1st June 2020. License fee critics have cited Netflix’s lower price and wide reach in the UK as evidence for the success of the subscription model. But concerns remain over how this would impact the BBC services and technical issues regarding how to limit the currently free to air BBC radio and TV channels to fee paying customers. Alternative funding options for the BBC do exist with Nordic countries operating a supplementary tax model for public broadcasting.
Online petition, Save our BBC, on campaigning website 38 Degrees has garnered over 200,000 signatures in five days, citing the importance of a public funded broadcaster independent of political or corporate pressure. The proposals have also seen criticism from Conservative party members. However, rumors have yet to be confirmed officially regarding the subscription model, despite official talk surrounding the decriminalization of the license fee.