How much does it cost to run the greatest public broadcasting system on earth? We’re obviously talking about the BBC here, and a mere £11.63 ($19.53 USD) per month, per household, license fee is all it takes to keep the Beeb in business. That works out to £139.50 ($234.17 USD) a year, or 39 pence (65 US cents) a day. To see the astonishing array of world class TV, radio, and internet networks this modest fee buys, click here.
Could the US support a similar funding system for PBS? Well, considering that the US population is 5 times greater than that of the UK, PBS would only have to charge 13 cents a day, or $3.95 a month, or $47.45 a year! Seems like a mighty good deal, compared to what premium cable channels cost these days. What’s a brighter future for PBS worth to you?
But wait…there’s more! Act now, and a license fee system will not only revitalize PBS and expand its reach, but it will throw in a boost to the economy at no extra charge! The BBC’s website makes the point (and again, feel free to multiply by five to imagine the potential scale for PBS):
A third of the licence fee is spent outside the BBC, supporting the broadcasting industry as a whole – that’s around £1.1billion a year.
Independent producers, programme-makers and artists are part of the ‘creative economy’, which ranges from TV and music to film, digital and computer games. This industry is vitally important to the UK economy, and the licence fee money we invest is particularly important during the recession.
We’re also moving more and more of our operations outside London and the South East of England, which spreads the benefit of the licence fee more widely across the whole of the UK.
Between the BBC and PBS, which funding system do you think fares better in hard times? Here’s a hint: Dru Sefton over at Current.org writes about the 10% year-end staff layoffs at PBS.