Now, I don’t watch much television, and none of what I do watch is on BBC3; most of it is on BBC4. (There are two main reasons for my admittedly atypical viewing patterns: firstly, I follow the quality; secondly, I refuse to watch adverts.) But that’s just me. What’s truly important here operates at a much more basic level.
The BBC’s charter, as I understand it, obliges them to be a ‘public service broadcaster’. The clue is in the last word. I don’t think streaming a channel exclusively on iPlayer can truly be described as ‘broadcasting’.
What about people who don’t have internet access? Or don’t happen to own an internet-ready television? Or who would rather watch on their antique TV set than on their laptop, but (like me) lack the technology to join the two together?
I just about accepted, a few years ago, that I’d have to spend money once digital, without consultation or compensation, became mandatory. (It meant I had to buy a new set, but the old one was nearly done for anyway, and it was a welcome boost to South Korea’s economy and the U.K. imports industry, not to mention John Lewis.)
But the doublethink that will lead me, in the future, to being unable to watch television on a television – well really! Public service?