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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 September 2007, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
TV bosses reject licence shake-up
Michael Grade
Mr Grade resigned as BBC chairman to join ITV last year
BBC and ITV bosses have criticised calls for part of the TV licence fee to go to commercial broadcasters.

The idea has been floated in a review by the media regulator Ofcom to help maintain "public service" programming.

Speaking at a Royal Television Society (RTS) convention, ITV executive chairman Michael Grade said he did not want any of the licence fee.

BBC director general Mark Thompson said it would weaken the corporation, which is entirely funded by licence payers.

In 2012, the government is set to consider the case for licence fee funding to be distributed beyond the BBC.

It will also decide whether to ask the BBC to provide funding for Channel 4, another public service broadcaster but currently funded commercially.

Regional cuts

The question of sustaining public-service programming in the commercial sector was raised again recently, following Mr Grade's announcement that ITV planned to cut its regional newsrooms from 17 to nine.

The broadcaster aims to save between 35m and 40m a year to invest in programmes with the closures, but must get permission from Ofcom.

Mr Grade said the current set-up is not sustainable but the proposed changes have angered unions.

Other speakers at the RTS convention included the chief executive of Channel 4, Andy Duncan, the head of Ofcom, Ed Richards, and Five chief executive, Jane Lighting.


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