Simply announcing the closure without going into any process of public consultation smacks of insolence and political points scoring by the BBC against DCMS. I’m all for public services free at the point of use but there is a private sector in media and content production who have been screaming for years that BBC has had an unfair, almost monopolistic position on this.
On one hand the it is able to fund free delivery platforms of deep almost limitless production of high quality news and entertainment content, on the other hand drawing on huge global sales revenues and (including in the UK) of this content through BBC Worldwide. BBC iPlayer is also about to go ‘un-free’ as well but will open itself out to overseas markets.
As things stand, BBC is more or less accused by the current media industry benefiting from ‘State Aid’ — which goes against EU rules if nothing else and so are at risk of large legal actions against this.
Your Hamburg coffee story could just as easily been written on TheLocal.com network — a privately run and funded, english language businesses run by two British guys from a tiny office in Stockholm and Berlin. Similar with the Finnish baby boxes and the Norwegian strongmen. Indeed often many stories are initially surface on there are then picked up and reworked by the BBC, plus Huffington, Buzzfeed and others.
I am personally agnostic on this and use the BBC online news and features every day in favour of paid for, or advertising funded outlets. But I guess at the end of the day, that this is probably the unsustainable, uncompetitive, gloriously unpalatable point…