A new study by the BBC argues it generates £8.3 billion a year for the country in “positive” benefits – around twice the amount it spends on television programming, radio stations and the website.
Some of this boost to the economy comes from sales of BBC programmes around the world. It makes income from selling successful series such as Top Gear and Sherlock Holmes to other countries to the value of around £1.3 billion a year.
However, almost £7 billion of its “economic impact” is calculated by seeing how the money it spends on wages and programming “ripples through” to private businesses. The report says there is a “multiplier effect” which means the wider British economy profits from its vast spending.
Gosh, how lovely. Now, go away and do the study again. This time, properly. And remember to include the dismultiplier, the divider, that comes from taxing money off people. From preventing them from spending their money in the manner they would wish, not you would. And, importantly, remember to include the multiplier of households spending £3 billion themselves, rather than through the medium of the BBC.
For the argument ain’t “what is the effect of BBC spending?”. It’s “what is the difference between the effect of BBC spending and household spending?”
And it’s rather unlikely that there’s any economic benefit to shovelling the money through the BBC when properly measured.