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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2005, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
What would a licence fee rise fund?
Spooks viewed on integrated Media Player
TV shows such as Spooks will be available via broadband internet
The BBC says it needs to increase the licence fee by 2.3% above inflation to fund its future plans. But what are those plans?

The corporation says it will need an extra 5.5bn over the next seven years to cover a range of services, from new local radio stations to investment in High Definition TV.

Director general Mark Thompson said the BBC would cover 3.9bn of those costs itself, but the rest would be met by a rise in the licence fee.

CONTENT QUALITY

The BBC plans to spend 1.6bn improving the quality of its television, radio and digital output.

This involves cutting the number of television repeats, a pledge made by BBC chairman Michael Grade in July. But the cost of making and screening new programmes is far greater than repeats.

On average, a repeat on BBC One or BBC Two costs 13,000 an hour - compared with 534,000 to make an hour of original drama.

The BBC has also promised to broadcast fewer "copycat" programmes - derivative series based on another channel's hit.

It also aims to place more emphasis on educational output and global journalism.

DIGITAL SERVICES

The BBC wants to spend 1.2bn on digital services, which bosses believe will be essential to the corporation's future.

Nighty Night
Clips from sitcom Nighty Night could be viewed by mobile phone
They plan to make TV shows available via broadband internet for up to seven days after broadcast - alongside the existing "listen again" feature for radio.

That will include being able to watch shows on the internet at the same time as they are broadcast on TV.

The BBC also plans to give "extensive on demand access" to older archive radio and TV programmes on the internet.

Portable devices such as mobile phones will have access to more material, such as news, and the BBC wants viewers to create "personalised" versions of BBC audio and news.

"So if, for example, if you are interested in world music or Baroque music, on the web we can offer you at a very marginal cost a personalised radio station," Mr Thompson said.

The corporation also intends to improve navigation and search facilities on its websites and on TV via electronic programme guides.

LOCAL RELEVANCE

The BBC plans to spend 600m making the corporation more reflective of audiences throughout the UK.

It plans to move almost 2,000 workers from departments including sport, children's BBC and new media from London to a new broadcasting centre in Manchester.

The Manchester centre would aim to attract talent from across the north of England, with further BBC activity planned in Leeds and Sheffield.

The BBC plans to commission more programmes in the regions and add new local services across the UK - particularly local television and radio stations.

That will include a new TV region for central England.

The BBC plans to create further OpenCentres, providing public access to BBC radio, local TV and online services at a single site - such as the centre unveiled in Coventry in May.

DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE

The BBC plans to spend 700m on encouraging the public to get to grips with digital technology.

High Definition TV
The BBC is keen to invest in High Definition television (HDTV)
These plans have an added urgency as the government aims to switch off the existing analogue television signal by 2012.

The BBC will have a prominent role in persuading people to get digital TV through its platforms such as Freeview and Freesat.

Freeview, a digital terrestrial TV service that gives access to a basic package of digital channels through a normal TV aerial, is already watched in 5.2 million UK households.

Next year, the BBC and ITV plan to jointly launch a Freesat service, a basic satellite TV package for those who cannot receive Freeview.

On radio, it hopes to increase the number of digital audio broadcast (DAB) listeners.

The BBC is also keen to invest in high definition television (HDTV), which offers clear, lifelike pictures and sound on large-screen televisions. Sky is planning to launch its own HDTV service next year.

Mr Thompson pledged to deliver free-to-air HDTV on all BBC digital platforms "as soon as practical", which is expected to be by about 2010.

BASE COSTS

The BBC proposes to spend a further 1.4bn on costs such as sports rights and the rights to broadcast other material such as certain pieces of music.

The price of paying on-air talent, such as presenters, will also be funded by these base costs.

Staff salaries that rise above inflation will also be covered here, as will a portion of BBC pension costs.


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