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Ofcom proposes modernising BBC’s operating licence to enable broadcaster to be more innovative

New operating licence would give the broadcaster greater flexibility to adapt and innovate in how it delivers content for audiences

UK media regulator Ofcom is launching a consultation on the BBC’s operating licence which it says would enable the broadcaster to innovate and respond to changing audience needs, while ensuring it delivers its remit.

The new licence would give the BBC more flexibility to enable it to better serve audiences across different services and platforms, but with safeguards, said Ofcom.

It would also give the BBC greater flexibility to adapt and innovate in how it delivers content for audiences, which Ofcom would monitor via new transparency requirements.

However, the licence would retain strict regulatory safeguards where necessary – for example, in relation to news and current affairs and original UK programmes.

The consultation on the BBC’s new operating licence is open until 14 September 2022. Ofcom said it expects to issue its final decision and updated licence in early 2023, in time for it to take effect on 1st April 2023.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC’s regulation needs to evolve for the digital age with built-in flexibility so we can continue to serve audiences with impartial news and distinctive UK content in a fast-changing global market, so we welcome Ofcom’s proposals.”

The consultation is part of Ofcom’s mid-Charter review of the BBC’s performance. As part of that review, the regulator is directing the broadcaster to change its policy around impartiality complaints.