BBC chairman: License fee good for economy

Says industry would be worse off without pubcaster

LONDON -- BBC chairman Michael Lyons on Thursday defended the pubcaster's role in the U.K. creative economy, arguing that the local industry would be $10 billion worse off if the broadcaster did not exist.

Speaking at an EU conference on public service media in the digital age in Strasbourg, France, Lyons based his remarks on a BBC Trust-commissioned PricewaterhouseCooper report published Thursday.

"The overall economic impact of the BBC is positive. The creative industries in the U.K. would be worse off by at least £5 billion, or €7 billion each year, if the BBC did not exist," he said.

The report has, however, identified commercial radio as one area that could potentially be harmed by the BBC's activities and Lyons was keen not to suggest that everything was perfect.

"The BBC is a deliberate intervention in the market, but if we can minimize any negative effects, the economic value it creates can be increased," he said.