The Guardian has accused the BBC of overstepping its public service remit in an attempt to dominate global news.
Andrew Miller, the chief executive of Guardian Media Group, said that the BBC’s plans to expand aggressively overseas is putting it in competition with British media groups that do not enjoy its public funding.
“In our fast-changing industry, the time has come to address and remedy the implications of BBC dominance,” he said in a speech at the London School of Economics last night.Executives at other media companies said that Mr Miller’s comments were strong, particularly as The Guardian is usually a supporter of the BBC.
Well, yes, the BBC's dominance is overwhelming and damaging. Local newspapers have been complaining about this for years. Now even the BBC's main supporter in the British press is aghast.
The Guardian and other publishers are concerned about the BBC’s plan to double the international reach of its TV channel and websites to an audience of 500 million people by 2022. The BBC’s expansion is of special concern to The Guardian and MailOnline for which attracting foreign users and advertisers is crucial to their business.
Those concerns have been stoked by the BBC’s decision to increase its coverage in Australia, where it has hired local journalists and launched a dedicated section on the BBC.com website.
The Guardian has invested heavily in the highly competitive Australia market and Mr Miller thinks the BBC should be focusing its funds on countries where there are fewer alternative media outlets.
He also thinks the BBC should open up its licence fee-funded content and archive to its British commercial rivals.
Interesting times when the BBC and Guardian fall out.