Yahoo, Shazam Top Executives to Advise U.K. Government on BBC Future

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Yahoo Europe boss Dawn Airey, Shazam chair Andrew Fisher and others were named to the advisory group ahead of the publication of a "green paper" on the BBC's future later this week.

The U.K. government has appointed eight media and entertainment industry experts, including top executives from Yahoo and Shazam, to advise it on a new charter for public broadcaster BBC.

Culture secretary John Whittingdale said the group would play an important role in the government’s plans "to deliver a transparent, open and democratic" charter review. It will meet up to six times a year.

The industry advisory group includes Dawn Airey, senior vp of Yahoo’s business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, who is also a former chairman and CEO of U.K. broadcaster Channel 5; and Andrew Fisher, executive chairman of Shazam.

The other members are former Shine Group CEO Alex Mahon; Colette Bowe, chairman of the Banking Standards Board, president of the Voice of the Listener and Viewer, and former chair of U.K. media regulator Ofcom; Darren Henley, CEO of the Arts Council England; Ashley Highfield, CEO of newspaper company Johnston Press and former director at the BBC; founder/CEO of and Diversity UK Lopa Patel; and Stewart Purvis, a British broadcaster and academic who was formerly editor-in-chief and CEO of ITN.

Said Whittingdale: "Each member of the independent advisory group brings individual skills, experience and expertise. Together they will contribute to the oversight of the government’s review of the BBC Royal Charter."

The group was named ahead of the goverment's planned publication of a "green paper" on the BBC's future later this week. "Our view is that this is likely to lead to suggestions that the scope of the BBC's remit should be scaled back and that it should be less focused on high audience ratings, which would be a plus for ITV," said Liberum Capital analyst Ian Whittaker.

The BBC's mandate and funding has been in focus amid recent news of more than 1,000 job cuts and a deal with the government that changes its financing outlook and led some observers to predict the broadcaster would have to axe some services.

BBC director general Tony Hall in an op-ed in The Guardian on Sunday said "the BBC is perfectly set up for future challenges."

Twitter: @georgszalai