BBC Launches Public Review of Its Four TV Channels

BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten

The formal review of BBC One, Two, Three and Four will also be open to input from the British public.

LONDON – The BBC Trust has embarked on what it says is its "most ambitious service license review of BBC Television," putting the performance of all four of its TV channels firmly in the spotlight.

As the BBC Trust, the public broadcaster's governing body, eyes the review, a three-month public consultation also begins Tuesday, Nov. 12.

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The Trust is inviting BBC audiences to share their views of the four channels.

The scrutiny, both public and by the BBC Trust, marks the governing body's second review of BBC Television, but is the first to look at these four channels together.

BBC One, Two and Four were reviewed in 2010 and BBC Three in 2009 as part of the Trust's review into younger audiences.

The television review, originally announced in February 2013, will assess whether or not each of the four BBC channels is fulfilling the commitment defined in its service license, which sets out what the public can expect of BBC offerings.

It will consider whether any changes to the current licenses are needed, along with each service's future direction.

The review will also follow up the BBC management's progress on the Trust's previous recommendations for the channels and examine the extent to which BBC television services provide distinctive programs.

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The review will consider whether each channel is delivering high-quality content across all genres, including sport (except News and Current Affairs, which are being covered separately in a review launched in September 2013), and whether each channel is delivering value for the money.

The BBC is majority funded by income gathered from all U.K. households with a TV via a license fee.

BBC Trustee David Liddiment said: "The license fee places a great obligation on the BBC to be bolder than other broadcasters in delivering ambitious and distinctive programs for its audiences. This review will allow us to make sure that the BBC is doing just that."

BBC Trustee Suzanna Taverne noted that the "fully digital age" has seen the television landscape change dramatically. "BBC television can be viewed anytime, anywhere, on pretty much any device, and our viewers have never been more discerning. We want to make sure the BBC is delivering the highest-quality content to all audiences, however they choose to access it," she added.

The final conclusions of the review are scheduled to be published in the summer of 2014.