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BBC chairman dismisses Netflix-style subscription model

Sir David Clementi criticises "linear regulation in a digital age"

BBC chairman Sir David Clementi has spoken out against the proposal to replace the licence fee with a Netflix-style subscription model.

“The whole point of the BBC is that it is underpinned by the principle of universality, that it should be available to everyone,” Clementi said, urging advocates of a subscription service to be “realistic.”

“I have no doubt that the BBC would do well under a subscription model, given the quality of much of our output,” he added. “But it would no longer be the BBC you and I know, and it would no longer serve everyone.”

The speech followed a report last month by Ofcom that found the BBC “vulnerable to a rapidly changing media landscape” as well as calls for a subscription model by culture secretary Nicky Morgan.

Clementi also criticised the 12-month delay in Ofcom’s approval of the iPlayer revamp and called for a greater overhaul of regulation.

“In my view, and I believe it is Ofcom’s view too, the real issue here is that we currently have linear regulation in a digital age,” he said.