The UK Government’s White Paper will determine the BBC\u27s Royal Charter for the next decade. The Charter is the constitutional basis for the broadcaster - which is due to expire at the end of this year. The proposals in the Royal Charter Review flow from an extensive process of consultation and evidence gathering. This included public consultation, to which over 190,0001 people contributed, an independent review of the governance and regulation of the BBC led by the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Sir David Clementi, a public opinion study considering in particular the views of underrepresented groups, and a review of the BBC’s market impact. In total over 300 organisations and experts engaged in the Charter Review process. Many others also contributed formal reports including the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, Lords Communications Committee, the BBC Trust and the BBC Executive. In addition, the Radio Times conducted a survey on the BBC, which over 9,000 of its readers completed. The government considered all of these contributions. Amongst the key changes proposed by the Review: commercial broadcasting regulator Ofcom will take over regulatory duties from the BBC Trust, with the power to investigate “any aspect of BBC services”; the National Audit Office will become the BBC\u27s financial auditor; a new unitary board will govern the BBC, with six government appointees, while the BBC will appoint up to eight members; viewers will require a licence to watch catch-up iPlayer programming; the broadcaster will trial new subscription services via the online portal; over-75s, who are entitled to a free licence fee, will have the ability to pay on a voluntary basis; and distinctive content must be at the heart of the BBC\u27s scheduling. The Review also allows the BBC to contract out all of its production, with the exception of news, and news-related current affairs programmes. In return, the BBC may convert its own production arm into a commercial subsidiary, BBC Studios, which will have the right to make programmes for other broadcasters.
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