BBC vs Sky
There are two different types of ownership models;
Commercial – Commercial ownership is very simple to explain, it is all about making profits for the company. The whole intention of Sky is to make a profit by providing its customers with the best entertainment, sport and movies that they possibly can, which obviously attracts more customers. Sky make their money by running a subscription based service, letting their customers choose which packages they want to have, and this makes the customer feel like Sky is very customisable and can be made to suit their viewing needs. Sky is owned by investors and shareholders, and it is ran by Robert Murdoch.
Public – BBC is owned by the British public, who all pay a television licence fee annually, a sum of £145.50. It is a public service broadcaster, and all of their revenue is raised through the licence fee, and then a final fee is set by parliament.
How are the BBC and Sky funded?
Sky – Sky operates on a subscription based service, so a lot of their revenue is from their subscribers. The customer will choose what package they want (movies, sports, kids, etc.) and they can even customise what channels they wish to have. Sky also gains some revenue through investors and selling shares, but the majority of their revenue comes through their customers. Sky has many products which improve their customers viewing pleasure, such as the Digibox, Sky+, Sky+HD, High Definition viewing, NowTV, and 3D channels. All of which cost extra for their customers.
BBC – Every house in the United Kingdom that has a television must pay a licence fee of £145.50 annually, and the licence fee means the BBC is not allowed to show commercials. This is how the BBC get the majority of its revenue, as it does not take money from companies or shareholders which could mean they would have to do what they want. The BBC also sells some of its programmes to other companies to raise revenue, an example of this is that Netflix are now allowed to show seasons of Doctor Who, because the BBC allowed them to for a fee. The BBC also make DVD’s of their best television programmes, which fans of the show can buy. The BBC also make audio tapes and CD’s of its best radio programmes and sells them. The BBC also sells magazines and books about their television programmes, such as the Doctor Who magazine.
The history of BBC and Sky
BBC – The BBC has been around for almost a century. The first broadcast was in June 1920 on the radio and it captured many peoples imagination, and also marked a turning point in the British public’s attitude to radio. John Reith was appointed general manager of the BBC in December 1922 and under his exceptional leadership the BBC grew dramatically. Reith’s aims at the BBC were to educate the public, but also entertaining them and using the platform for campaigning and social action. The 1920’s saw the BBC become a professional broadcasting organisation for radio, and saw the end of amateur radio enthusiasts. In the 1930’s the BBC continually invested and developed.
The first experimental television broadcasts were aired in 1932, and the BBC became the first broadcaster to begin a regular scheduled TV service in 1936, but television broadcasting altogether was suspended from 1 September 1939 until 7 June 1946 because of the Second World War. However, the BBC’s radio broadcasting remained during the war, and it began to put a lighter feel to their presentation to keep up the public’s morale during the war.
The radio was still very important during the 1950’s because television sets were expensive, and early in the decade the world’s longest running radio soap opera was born, it was called ‘The Archers’. Blue Peter, a programme for children, was also born in the 1950’s, and it still runs today.
The 1960’s saw the birth of colour in television, and also the birth of many famous BBC programmes, such as ‘Doctor Who’ (which still runs today) and ‘The Forsyte Saga’ (which became the first British television programme to be sold to the Soviet Union).
In 1974, the BBC’s teletext service, Ceefax was created initially to provide subtitling, but it developed into providing news and becoming an information service. In the 1980’s the BBC created a soap called ‘Eastenders’, which still runs today. During this decade a reporter for the BBC in Africa, called Michael Buerk, alerted the world through the BBC News Channel to a famine of biblical proportions in Ethiopia, which ultimately le the Bob Geldof’s International Live Aid concert in 1985, which was masterminded by the BBC.
In the 1990’s Princess Diana’s funeral was broadcast by the BBC, and it was watched by nineteen million people, the largest outside broadcast ever mounted by the BBC.
CBBC, a television channel showing children’s programmes, was created in 1985. However, it was split in 2002 to create CBeebies, a channel aimed at very young children.
In the 2000’s the BBC embraced the digital revolution by introducing ‘BBC iPlayer’, which is an online service you can get on your mobile or computer, and it allows you to catch-up on shows that have been played on a BBC channel in the last thirty days. The BBC have also increased their radio services during the decade, and you can now listen to the BBC’s radio stations on your computer or phone.
Sky – The history is Sky begins in the 1980’s, when the company was founded by Brian Haynes, and it was called Satellite Televsion (SATV). In October 1981 SATV began test transmissions on the Orbital Test Satellite after the European Space Agency allowed the company to test the satellite for commercial television. The low-powered satellite forced it to broadcast to cable systems rather than directly to individual satellite dishes.
SATV began regular transmissions in April 1982, becoming Europe’s first ever cable and satellite channel. However, it was only able to broadcast in certain countries, excluding the UK, and due to their poor audience SATV suffered financially.
In June 1983, the shareholders of SATV agreed a five million offer to give News International 65% of the company. News International was run by Rubert Murdoch, who would play a key role from this part on in SATV’s future.
In January 1984 SATV was renamed to Sky Channel. Murdoch expanded its broadcasting hours and also the programming line-up to provide a mix of English-language sports and entertainment shows, along with music programmes.
The viewing figures in December 1983 were 291,470, but in April 1987 just over nine million were viewing the Sky Channel via cable viewing. Despite the increase in viewership, the company continued to lose money, and for the year of 1987 alone £10 million was lost.
Murdoch bid for the satellite broadcasting licence in 1986 but lost out to BSB. Murdoch tried to join BSB after failing with his bid, but he was rejected.
In 1989 the Sky Network was born, which was a four channel Sky Television package. This was after Disney pulled out of a deal with Sky, which hurt the company’s viewership. In May of 1989 Sky prepared to give away set topboxes and dishes to new customers in a bid to gain more customers, but this venture was not helped with the failed Disney deal looming over the company’s head.
In 1990, Sky Network and BSB (British Satellite Broadcasting) were in financial difficulty, and in November that year there was a 50:50 financial merger, with a management takeover by Sky. The new company formed what we have today, BSkyB (British Sky Broadcasting), and all of BSB’s channels were scrapped in favour of Sky’s channels.
BSkyB began to sell off some of their satellite’s to cover some of the company’s losses. The company also brought on board New Zealand television executive Same Chisholm to manage the day-to-day operations and build the subscriber base, and the company then began to move into profit.
BSkyB became the UK’s largest digital subscription company, and by mid 1994 BSkyB was in three and a half million households in Britain. Fast forward to today, and Sky is installed in thirty six percent of households in the UK and Ireland, with over ten million subscribers.
Sky, like the BBC, has embraced the digital revolution and now they offer a lot of products to catch-up on your favourite programmes (Sky+), and Sky also has apps for your phone or gaming consoles where you can watch their programmes via their app.
Key Players for BBC and Sky
BBC – One key player at the BBC was Greg Dyke, who was the BBC Director General from 2000 until 2004. Dyke replaced John Birt as the Director General in the BBC, and he was famously quoted as saying he would ‘cut the crap’ from the BBC. What Greg Dyke was referring to was the complex internal market that his predecessor had introduced at the BBC, which make employee’s turn away from making programmes for the BBC and instead turn them into managers. Dyke reduced administration costs from 24% of the total income down to 15%. Greg Dyke was popular among the BBC staff, and his management style was reportedly seen as being more open and risk-taking than his predecessor. Jonathan Gifford, who worked for BBC Magazines in BBC Worldwide experienced both John Birt’s and Greg Dyke’s management styles. He said ‘Dyke came across well. He was direct, sensible and approachable. His vision for the BBC was inspirational’.
Greg Dyke had two major achievements during his time at the BBC. In 2002, he introduced the Freeview terrestrial digital transmission platform with six additional BBC channels, and he even persuaded Sky TV to join the consortium. By mid-2007, Freeview could be seen by more than half the population.
In 2001, Dyke controversially described the BBC as ‘hideously white’, based on statistics that showed the BBC’s management structure was 98% white. Dyke said ‘The figures we have at the moment suggest that quite a lot of people from different ethnic backgrounds that we do attract to the BBC leave. Maybe they don’t feel at home, maybe they don’t feel welcome’. Greg Dyke then set a target that by 2003, 10% of the BBC’s UK workforce and 4% of management would be from ethnic minority backgrounds. In September 2004, Dyke won an award for his remarks at Empower Scotland, which fights against racism.
The Hutton Report signalled the end of Greg Dyke’s reign at the BBC. Dyke resigned on 29 January 2004, after the publication of the report. Hutton described Dyke’s approach to checking news stories as ‘defective’.
Dyke was interviewed by GMTV a day after his resignation, and said ‘We were shocked it was so black and white… We knew mistakes had been made but we didn’t believe they were only by us’.
Another key player for the BBC was Greg Dyke’s successor, Mark Thompson. Thompson replaced Greg Dyke as Director General of the BBC after the decision to appoint him was unanimous among the BBC Board of Governors. The appointment was widely praised. On his first day, he announced several management changes.
In 2007 it had emerged that the BBC had been involved in a number of editorial guidelines breaches. Thompson submitted his report to the BBC Trust, and he outlined to BBC Trust the actions he would take to restore confidence in the BBC. Thompson was interviewed by Gavin Esler for Newsnight, and he said ‘From now on, if it [deceiving the public] happens we will show people the door’.
In October 2008, Thompson cut short a family holiday to return to deal with the Russell Brand Show prank telephone call row. Thompson took the executive decision to suspend BBC’s highest paid presenter, Jonathan Ross, from all his BBC work for three months without pay. However, Thompson reiterated the BBC’s commitment to Ross’s style of edgy comedy, saying ‘BBC audiences accept that, in comedy, performers attempt to push the line of taste’.
Thompson was the Director General of the BBC when it announced it would share the rights to broadcast all of Formula One’s Grand Prix. Mark Thompson was accused of having a pro-Israeli editorial stance. In May 2011, Thompson ordered the lyrics ‘free Palestine’ in a rap in BBC 1 Extra to be censored. In January 2010, Thompson was criticised over his £834,000 salary, which identified him as the highest paid employee of any public sector organisation in the UK. Mark Thompson resigned in early 2013, saying ‘It is the appropriate time to hand over to a successor’.
Sky – Sky has one main key player, and that is Rupert Murdoch, who has been with the company since the beginning. Murdoch is the founder, Chairman and CEO of global media holding company News Corporation, the world’s second-largest media conglomerate, and its successors News Corp and 21st Century Fox after the conglomerate split in June 2013.
Murdoch formed BSkyB in 1990 after he merged his old company, Sky Network with BSB (British Satellite Broadcasting) after the two companies were in financial difficulty. By 2000, Murdoch’s News Corporation owned over 800 companies in more than 50 countries, with a net worth of over $5 billion.
After he formed BSkyB, they quickly dominated the British Pay-TV market ever since. Although Murdoch has formed a very dominant company that is worth billions, he has not been far from controversy. In 2011, Murdoch came under fire because a newspaper he owns, News of the World, was caught up in a phone hacking scandal. Murdoch has always said that he never had any idea of what was going on at the paper because since he ran a global business of 53,000 employees and that the News of the World was ‘just 1% of this’, he was not ultimately responsible for what went on at the tabloid, and he added that he had not considered resigning.
On July 2013, Exaro and Channel 4 news broke the story of a secretly recorded tape. The tape was recorded by Sun journalists and in it Murdoch can be heard telling them that the whole investigation as one big fuss over nothing, and that he, or his successors, would take care of any journalists who went to prison. He said ‘Why are the police behaving in this way? It’s the biggest inquiry ever, over next to nothing’.
In the UK today, his media empire remains under fire as investigators continue to probe reports of other phone hacking.
In 2011, Sky suffered a 15% fall in profits, with only 40,000 signing up in three months which was its lowest subscriber rate for five years, and this was due to the phone hacking scandal in which Murdoch’s companies were involved in.
Virgin – Another commercial Director I’m going to look at is Richard Branson, who is the founder of the Virgin Group, which is made up of four hundred companies, making Branson the seventh richest person in America (according to Forbes magazine).
In 1970 Branson set up his own mail-order record business, and this led him to open a chain of record stores in 1972 known as Virgin Records (later changed to Virgin Megastores). The Virgin brand expanded very quickly, and during the 1980’s Branson set up Virgin Atlantic and also expanded his Virgin Records music label. In the 1990’s Branson expanded even more, creating a train business called Virgin Trains, and then he created an airline business called Virgin Airlines. In the late 1990’s Branson also created a mobile network, called Virgin Mobile.
Richard Branson has also had his share of controversy though, with many people criticising his business strategies. Branson’s business empire is owned by a complicated series of offshore trusts and companies. Branson has also came under criticism by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation organisation for profiting from selling trips to SeaWorld and similar theme parks that hold dolphins, whales and other sea life in captivity for entertainment purposes.
Technologies Sky and BBC offer their viewers
Sky – Sky is a great example of a company who have embraced the digital revolution and reaped all of the benefits, with no drawbacks. Sky introduced apps for your mobile phone, Smart TV, gaming console, and tablet, which allow their viewers to watch Sky on their device just as they would from the actual Sky box. This allows Sky to reach a far greater audience, as not many people like sitting in front of their television all of the time, it enables Sky’s customers to watch the service lying in bed, or on the go. Some of Sky’s apps include; Sky+, SkyGo, SkyService, SkyMovies, SkyWiFi, SkySports, Sky Sports Live Centre, and Sky News.
Sky have also recognised and embraced the importance of social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. They have used these social media websites to display their advertisements for their latest deals or whatever programme is new to a Sky channel.
Sky has introduced technologies such as Sky+, which allows its subscribers to record, pause and instantly rewind live television at their own pleasure. The system works by using an internal hard-drive inside the Sky+ box. For example, this allows its subscribers to watch live television, pause the programme during the break to make a cup of tea or go to the bathroom, and then come back and fast-forward through the break.
Sky used a £10 per month subscription fee for Sky+, but the fee was discontinued for subscribers from July 2007, but will continue for Freesat from Sky use.
Sky also introduced HD versions of all of their usual channels. This will introduce high-definition channels for all of the channels that their subscriber is currently getting in their package. The fee for this is £10 a month, however it only gets the viewer the high-definition version of the channels that they already get in their package, so it’s basically £10 extra on top of your usual cost, just for a higher definition.
Sky also own NowTV, which is intended to be a rival towards Netflix. NowTV is an app you can get on your mobile phone, tablet, gaming console, Smart TV or through your computer. It is a streaming service owned by BSkyB, but you can also get all of the channels you get on your television through the app. Customers can also buy a NowTV box, which is basically a little box with a remote that you can hook up to your television and use the NowTV service that way. Some examples for fees involving the NowTV service are £10 per month for unlimited streaming of movies, £10 for a 24 hour pass to all of the sports channels, or you can simply just rent or buy a single movie (prices vary) from the SkyShop.
BBC – The BBC has also embraced the digital revolution to improve their customers viewing experience, and where they can view BBC’s channels and programmes. BBC iPlayer is the best example of how the BBC have used the digital age to their advantage. The iPlayer is an online service that allows you to watch any programme that was broadcast on any BBC channel in the last thirty days, after thirty days however the programme expires on the service and is no longer available. The iPlayer also comes in the form of an app for your phone, tablet, gaming console, or Smart TV. It can be accessed through your computer as well.
The BBC has created many apps which keeps their viewership informed, such as the BBC Sport app, the BBC News app, and the BBC Weather app, and the BBC CBeeBies Playtime app.
The BBC has also made it easier to listen to all of their radio channels. The public can now listen to BBC channels through the radio in their car, through the BBC website, or through the BBC Sports app. However, only sport related BBC radio channels (BBC Radio 5, BBC Radio 5 Live) are available through the BBC Sports app. Some of the BBC’s radio channels are also only available digitally, meaning you won’t be able to access certain radio channels through the radio in your car, examples are Radio 1 Extra, and BBC Radio 6.
Unlike Sky, the BBC have not used social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to advertise their programmes.
Income Generation for the BBC and Sky
Sky – Sky gain their money through their customers subscribing to packages which contain certain channels. There are different types of packages you can get, examples are; The Original Bundle, The Variety Bundle, The Family Bundle, The Movies Bundle, The Sports Bundle, The Complete Bundle. All of the prices for these packages vary, it just depends which package you were to choose.
Sky makes a lot of their money through their subscription service, which all offer a free Sky+HD box and a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7” or a £100 reward of the customer’s choice. This all entices people to join Sky. The cheapest bundle available to customers is £21.50 per month, and the dearest bundle stands at £71.25 per month.
Sky also make their money through other ways. For example, all of the Sky channels show advertisements and Sky will receive money for doing so. This, again, adds into Sky’s revenue.
Sky also offers their subscribers pay-per-view events, such as boxing or wrestling matches. The viewer will have to pay a fee to watch the event, and this is another example of how Sky add to their revenue.
Sky has over ten million subscribers in the UK alone, which makes them the largest subscription broadcaster. Sky has been continuously making a profit every year from 2009 onwards, this was after they suffered a £127 million loss in 2008. Even in 2011, when Rupert Murdoch, who owns BSkyB, was caught up in the phone hacking scandal, Sky made a profit of £810 million, although the year before was £878 million in profits. In June 2014, Sky announced its financial figures for the past year. The turnover stood at £7,632 million, and their profit (after tax) was £865 million.
Sky also gain revenue through their Sky Broadband package, which provides an internet service to their customers. The cheapest deal for this is £7.50 per month which gets you up to 17mb, and the dearest package for Sky Broadband is £20 per month, which gives you up to 38mb. In order to install Sky Broadband, the customers will have to install Sky Line Rental as well, which is £16.40 per month on top of the price for the Sky Broadband.
Sky customers will also have to pay £6.95 for Sky to deliver the router. If the Sky customer also installs a fibre connection, it will cost them £30 to activate it.
BBC – The BBC get the majority of their money through the British public paying a television licence fee annually. The television licence fee is £145.50 per household, although there are talks at the BBC at the moment which are suggesting that this price is changed and modernised.
The amount of money collected from the television licence fee in 2012/13 was £3,706 million, but in 2013/14 it rose by £16 million to £3,722 million. However, because the BBC saved some money on the DSO (Digital Switchover) initiative in 2012/13 the BBC was given an additional £4 million, which brought the net television licence fee money for the BBC to £3,726 million for 2013/14.
The licence fee also covers other areas of the BBC, such as online, radio and other costs. The breakdown of how much money it would cost each UK household is shown here.
£8 (per month per household) out of the licence fee was spent on television. This amounted to a total spend of £2,276 million (66% of the licence fee) on television alone.
£2.30 (per month per household) out of the licence fee went towards the BBC’s radio services. This amounted to £650 million (19% of the licence fee) on radio services alone.
£0.61 (per month per household) out of the licence fee went towards the BBC’s online services. This amounted to £174 million (5%) on the BBC’s online services alone.
£1.82 (per month per household) out of the licence fee went towards other costs of the BBC. This amounted to £357 million (10%) on other costs for the BBC alone.
The price of the licence fee gradually increased from April 2007 until April 2010. The cost of the licence fee in April 2007 was £135.50, and in April 2010 the government froze the price of the licence fee at £145.50 until April 2017. Before the government froze the price of the licence fee in 2010, however, the amount being charged for the licence fee had to be approved each year by parliament.
The BBC also make some money by selling their programmes to other companies, for example Netflix bought certain seasons of Doctor Who, as well as buying the first three seasons of Sherlock. The BBC also makes DVD’s for some of their popular programmes and sell them to bring in some money.
The BBC also make magazines for children, such as the Doctor Who magazine, or the Match of the Day magazine. This brings in more money for the BBC, which they then use to improve or expand their services.
Channels and Flagship programmes the BBC and Sky offer
Sky – The amount of channels that Sky has added is nothing short of extraordinary. When Sky was founded it only had the one channel, but then when Sky Network was started they added three more, making four channels. Since then Sky has expanded and developed rapidly, and the company now has over 900 channels, if you include all of the radio channels. The channels vary in what they show, from movies to sport to entertainment to music, and so much more. There is no doubt when you compare both Sky and the BBC that Sky will always come out on top on this topic. Sky offers so many more channels and great television programmes that the BBC simply cannot afford to show. Sky has television shows such as; Boardwalk Empire, Blue Bloods, Game of Thrones, Fortitude, Penny Dreadful, Mad Men and many more. Sky has movies such as; Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast and Furious 6, Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, The Dark Knight Rises, Dredd and many more. Sky Sports shows a lot of live Premier League football matches, among a lot of matches from other leagues, such as La Liga and the Bundesliga.
Sky has many different channels, some of which are:
The majority of Sky’s channels are available in high-definition viewing.
BBC – The BBC has a lot of programmes that are very popular due to being around for so long, such shows include Doctor Who, Match of the Day, and Blue Peter. All of which have been running for fifty years or more. The BBC also has a very popular soap, Eastenders, which has won numerous awards.
Some of the channels that the BBC have to offer are:
A lot of these channels are also available in high-definition. The BBC has a lot of flagship television programmes as well, such as; Doctor Who, Match of the Day, Strictly Come Dancing, The Two Ronnie’s, Top Gear, and EastEnders. A lot of these programmes have been running for years, Doctor Who turned fifty years old in 2013. The Daily Telegraph dubbed The Doctor, the main character from Doctor Who, as ‘Britain’s favourite alien’.
The BBC has also developed new dramas, such as The Fall and The Missing, both of which got fantastic reviews. If you compare what programmes and movies that Sky has to offer against what the BBC has to offer, then Sky will win every time. The difference is that the BBC recognise that some shows, such as Doctor Who, are some of the nation’s favourite television programmes, and that’s what’s kept Doctor Who and many other shows alive for so long. When a programme stops making money for Sky, they will drop it immediately, but it’s the opposite for the BBC. If a television programme is a favourite of their viewership, then the BBC will continually develop this programme in order to suit the viewer’s needs.
Match of the Day is another fantastic example of how the BBC will fight in order to keep the nations favourite programmes. ITV used to show highlights of the weekends football on their channel as well, and for a period Match of the Day played second fiddle to ITV’s coverage of the sport. Now, however, Match of the Day is the best show in the UK and Ireland to watch all of the highlights from the weekends Premier League fixtures.
Sky – Sky is regulated by their own department of complaints. Sky subscribers, whether that be SkyTV subscribers or SkyBroadband subscribers, can get in contact with the company and lodge their complaint. The subscriber can do this in a few ways; email, via post, over the phone, or through an online chat with one of Sky’s online advisors.
The Office of Communications (popularly known as Ofcom), is the government-approved regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries in the UK. Ofcom regulates and takes complaints regarding BSkyB. Ofcom has a duty to represent the citizens and consumes by providing competition and protecting the public from harmful or offensive material.
BSkyB is regulated by Ofcom, and Ofcom can investigate any complaint from Sky’s subscribers towards the company.
BBC – The BBC is regulated by the public to some extent, because the public pay the licence fee so they will complain to the BBC if the show isn’t of a certain standard, or the viewing figures for that show will tell the BBC that the public aren’t a fan of the programme.
Legally though, Ofcom are the body that regulates the BBC. The Office of Communications (popularly known as Ofcom), is the government-approved regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries in the UK. Ofcom will regulate, and investigate any complaint lodged by the public against the BBC. Ofcom has a duty to represent the citizens and consumers by providing competition and protecting the public from harmful or offensive material.
Controversies of Sky and the BBC
Sky – Sky hasn’t been the biggest victim of controversy compared to the BBC. The real big controversy surrounding Sky was the phone hacking scandal. The owner of Sky, Rupert Murdoch, owns a company called News Corporation, which ran a newspaper in the UK, called News of the World. The employees of the newspaper were accused of hacking people’s phones in order to get stories.
In 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron opened an inquiry to look into the extent of the phone hacking, which many believed was limited to celebrities, politicians and The Royal Family. However, it was revealed that the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was hacked, along with the phones of relatives of deceased soldiers, and victims of the London bombings.
Rupert Murdoch, who owned the company which ran the newspaper took a lot of criticism about how much he knew of the hacking scandal, and this inevitably took a hit on Sky, another company which he owns. For a three month period, the number of people subscribing to Sky fell dramatically in 2011 in response to the scandal, but Sky still managed to make a profit for that year.
The allegations surrounding Rupert Murdoch got even worse when he was recorded by journalists working for the Sun, Murdoch said about the scandal, ‘Why are the police behaving in this way? It’s the biggest inquiry ever, over next to nothing’. Murdoch also said that he, or his successors, would take care of any News of the World employees that go to prison for their part in the scandal.
There are many people that have criticised Sky for their business strategies. Since BSkyB is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns News Corporation, many people think that Sky is evading paying tax, although this has never been proven.
BBC – The BBC has had a lot more controversies compared to Sky. The BBC has had two major controversies in the last decade or so, the Hutton report and the phone calls made by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross.
The Hutton Inquiry was an inquiry launched by the government to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of David Kelly, a biological warfare expert and former UN weapons inspector in Iraq. Three BBC journalists were accused of having made untrue and distasteful remarks surrounding a report claiming that Iraq had the ability to launch a strike using ‘weapons of mass destruction’ within forty five minutes. Andrew Gilligan made the allegations twice (once on BBC Radio 4 and once in an article for The Mail on Sunday), Gavin Hewitt made the allegation on BBC News, and Susan Watts made the allegations on BBC Two’s Newsnight programme. The BBC was angrily accused by the government for poor journalism and untrue remarks surrounding the report. The BBC later revealed that David Kelly was their source.
Director General at the time, Greg Dyke, resigned a few months after the Hutton Report. Lord Hutton, who chaired the inquiry, accused Dyke of being ‘defective’ at checking the news stories. A few other people at the BBC also followed Greg Dyke and resigned.
The other major controversy that the BBC was involved in was the prank calls left to the answering machine of Andrew Sachs. It is sometimes called ‘Sachsgate’. The Russell Brand Show was a radio show on BBC Radio 2. This particular episode was recorded earlier in the week, but the BBC still allowed the show to be broadcast. The show involved both Russell Brand and a guest on the show, Jonathan Ross, leaving voicemail messages on the phone of Andrew Sachs. The voicemails included rude messages about Brand’s relationship with Sach’s daughter, Georgina Baillie, who at the time was a performer with a group called Satanic Sluts.
The BBC was heavily criticised for the whole saga, especially before the show was not live but instead recorded earlier in the week, but the BBC still allowed the episode to be broadcast. Both the BBC and Ofcom launched investigations, while Prime Minister Gordon Brown heavily criticised Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross. Jonathan Ross was suspended by the BBC’s Director General Mark Thompson for three months without pay, while Russell Brand and Lesley Douglas, controller of BBC Radio 2, resigned. The BBC was fined £150,000 by Ofcom.
Audience Feedback & Positives and Negatives for Sky and the BBC
Sky – Sky is relatively seen as a good company, that provides its subscribers with the advantage of being able to customise the channels in which they receive, which makes their viewing experience better. Sky also has the very best television programmes, movie and the best live sports on Sky Sports.
A negative for Sky is that their broadband, Sky Broadband, is widely criticised for having slow internet speeds, and to pay £30 to active the fibre connection or £6.95 to have your router delivered, is seen as trying to get money in any way possible.
A positive for Sky is the fact that they are a prime example of a company who have embraced the digital age and reaped all of the benefits that it has to offer. Sky now has a lot of apps available to watch on your mobile phone, tablet, or Smart TV, and these apps allow you to access the same service you would be accessing through your Sky box.
BBC – The BBC splits opinions sometimes. There’s no doubt that it is a little prone to controversy now and again, but when the BBC get a programme right, they really get it right. The BBC recently broadcast two new dramas, The Fall and The Missing, and they were received really well by the public. It’s not as if the BBC needed any proof that they could still produce good drama, but The Fall and The Missing were good examples that the BBC can still create television programmes that hook us to our screens.
A negative for the BBC is the fact that since every household in the UK has to pay a licence fee, then the BBC really have to cover every bit of ground when it comes to creating television programmes. They have to cover what everybody likes, for example gardening shows, political programmes, antique programmes, crime drama, nature documentaries etc.
My opinion is that both the BBC and Sky have a lot of different positives and negatives. There is no doubt that Sky offers the best television programmes, the best movies, and the best sports. However, it’s the price of Sky that is putting people off subscribing to the company. The cheapest package is £21.50 per month, and that’s for a very basic package that doesn’t get you the best channels that Sky has to offer.
The only reason I would get Sky would be for the football. Sky Sports is the best place to watch the football. They have the best pundits, the best presentation, and their commentators aren’t that bad either. BT Sport is a recent competitor of Sky Sports, but BT Sports is struggling to keep up with Sky’s coverage of sports. Everything about Sky Sports is a lot better than BT Sports, in my opinion, especially the pundits and the presentation.
I think that the licence fee is a fair representation of what the BBC give back to us year after year. If you think of all the content that the BBC offers us in so many different platforms, then £145.50 really isn’t that much. All of the television programmes, all of the radio stations, all of the digital radio station, the apps, and, of course, the BBC iPlayer.
I don’t have Sky, and I don’t think that I will ever get it. Yes, there are definitely a lot of positives to getting Sky, but it costs too much money, and on top of that you still have to pay your licence fee to the government. All of the programmes that you see on Sky, and that you pay an arm and a leg for, can be easily streamed off a lot of websites online, and they will be pretty good quality. It’s the same with sports. There are plenty of websites where you can stream a live football match (or any other sport) from, and again, it will be pretty good quality.
So, why bother paying at least £21.50 per month for Sky, along with your licence fee, when you can just pay your licence fee and get the same programmes, movies and sports that you do with Sky, streamed from a website online for free? The age of online streaming websites has dawned, with Netflix leading the way. We’re at a digital age now where everything will be done online, so Netflix and similar companies will continue to grow.
For me personally, I only use the BBC to watch Match of the Day, Match of the Day 2, The Football League Show, and other football related programmes. The main website that I use would be Netflix, because there are some great shows on there such as; House of Cards, Orange is the new black, House, Dexter, The Killing, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul and many more. Online services will become more and more popular as the digital world continues to grow, and more people will begin using the BBC iPlayer. I don’t think that watching live television, whether it be from Sky or the BBC, will ever be out-popularised by online streaming, but it will come pretty close.
Greg Dyke - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Dyke
Mark Thompson - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Thompson_(media_executive)
History of BBC - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC
History of Sky - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_%28United_Kingdom%29
Sky+ - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky%2B
Rupert Murdoch - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch
Richard Branson - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Branson
Sky’s Financial Figures - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_plc#Financial_performance
Sky’s Packages Information - http://www.sky.com/shop/
Sky Broadband - http://www.sky.com/shop/broadband-talk/
BBC Licence Fee Figures - http://www.bbc.co.uk/annualreport/2014/executive/finances/licence_fee.html
BBC Licence Fee Breakdown - http://www.bbc.co.uk/corporate2/insidethebbc/whoweare/licencefee
Sky Channels List - http://www.insidethex.co.uk/xmltv/lineups/List_of_channels_on_Sky.html
Sky Movies List - http://www.sky.com/tv/channel/skymovies
Sky Programmes List - http://www.sky.com/tv/channel/skyatlantic/shows
Doctor Who - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_%28Doctor_Who%29
List of BBC Channels - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stations_of_the_BBC
Sky Complaints - http://help.sky.com/articles/how-to-make-a-complaint
Ofcom - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ofcom
Phone hacking scandal - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_International_phone_hacking_scandal
Hutton Inquiry - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutton_Inquiry
Greg Dyke at the BBC - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Dyke#At_the_BBC
Pranks calls by Brand and Ross - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Russell_Brand_Show_prank_telephone_calls_row