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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 March, 2004, 00:14 GMT
Majority 'want change to TV fee'
The Panorama special about the BBC's future is to be shown on Sunday
Almost 70% of people in the UK want changes to the way the BBC is funded, according to a poll for a Panorama special about the corporation's role.

The survey, conducted by ICM, found 31% thought the BBC should remain funded by the licence fee in its current form.

Another 36% said the BBC should be paid for by a subscription - like digital broadcasters - while 31% wanted advertising to pay for the programmes.

The show, What's the Point of the BBC?, is on BBC One at 2215 GMT on Sunday.

In a studio debate, acting BBC director general Mark Byford will take questions from viewers in the wake of the findings of the Hutton Inquiry.

36% - Paid subscription for BBC services
31% - Funded through advertising
31% - Existing licence fee
Source: ICM/Panorama
The poll also asked whether the BBC's programmes were different enough from those on its commercial rivals.

A majority - 58% - said the programmes were similar to those on other channels.

"I think the pendulum swung in the last five years or so a bit towards the popular and away from the more specialised," said former BBC Two controller Sir David Attenborough, who appears in the programme.


"I think there are great areas of drama which it doesn't tackle, classical drama of one sort or another," he said.

Endemol UK Chairman Peter Bazalgette, producer of Big Brother and Fame Academy, said the BBC's governance policy was "an accident waiting to happen".

Mr Byford said the BBC governors were right to promote the BBC's independence, but changes might have to be made in the future.

"If the BBC stood still on anything - whether it was the programming, whether it was on the consideration of its accountability - it would be wrong because things are changing around it," he said.

"But what it does need to have clarity on is who is it serving, and is it accountable to them?"

Panorama: What's the Point of the BBC? was broadcast on BBC One on Sunday, 7 March 2004 at 2215 GMT

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