Successfully marketing a Public Service organisation

Level: Undergraduate | Grade: 2:1 | Approx. Word Count: 3,500

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This essay is focused on an examination of the commercial marketing strategies the BBC has implemented in its efforts to build a renowned broadcasting organisation, the criticism this has evoked from private sector broadcasting corporations and its response to this criticism. These issues will be specifically focused on the debate that preceded the corporation’s application for charter renewal/licence fee increase in 2006.


As the BBC is predominantly financed through a public licence system controlled by the government, its activities are controlled within the remit of a Royal Charter, which dictates the extent to which the corporation can engage in commercial activities to support its programming and broadcasting activities, which limits its ability to raise external funding (Carpenter 1997). This limitation meant that the corporation has faced two major areas of challenge over recent decades. In this context, the BBC has found itself having to compete with a rapidly increasing rise in the numbers of private broadcasting corporations. More importantly, it has also needed to find ways to maintain its advantage in an industry that has witnessed an almost meteoric rise in digital and technological advances, while at the same time remaining the limited remit of commercial activity allowed for within its charter and relying instead predominantly on increases in the licence fee. However, in the past both of the events described above have brought criticism from the corporation’s commercial competitors, with the arguments being that the proposed increase in licence fees is unfair on private sector broadcasters and, additionally, that the commercial activities exceeds the corporation’s charter limitations.