In this lecture, Diane Coyle considers how the BBC can meet the challenge of providing a universal service while media channels proliferate and its audience becomes more and more diverse. She will also examine the BBC’s relationship with the state and ask how its independence is best protected.

Diane Coyle, image from  BBC Trust

Diane Coyle, image from BBC Trust

About Diane:

Born and raised in the North West, Diane was educated at Oxford and Harvard, where she did a PhD in economics. She has worked as an economist and journalist. Economics editor for The Independent for eight years, she left in 2001 to set up her own consultancy specialising in the economics of new technologies. Diane was a member of the Competition Commission from 2001 to 2009, which has given her extensive experience in understanding how markets work and how to make competition serve consumers. She has also written many popular books on economics.

In 2009, Diane was awarded the OBE for services to economics. She lives in London and is married to BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones. A BBC Trustee since November 2006, Diane was appointed as Vice Chair from May 2011 and Acting Chair in May 2014.

Lecture details:

Date: Monday 23rd June 2014

Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, LSE New Academic Building

Time: 6.30pm to 7.30pm

This is a Polis and British Government@LSE public event and is free and open to all with no ticket required. If you have any questions, please email

The Future of the BBC, thoughts from Polis

The future of the BBC and its role in British society has been up for debate in the lead up to the 2016 BBC Charter Renewal.  Polis Director Charlie Beckett was one of the media and journalism experts invited to give evidence to the Select Committee on the future of the BBC. Below are a summary of his main thoughts, taken from a previous blog post which is accessible here:

This is my personal submission to the House of Commons Department of Culture, Media and Sports’ Select Committee inquiry into the future of the BBC in the lead up to BBC Charter Renewal in 2016.

It draws partly on my experience as a journalist (including at the BBC from 89-99 and ITN 99-2006) but mostly on my last eight years leading research and debate at the LSE with academics, media practitioners, policy-makers and politicians looking at the changing nature of journalism in particular, and media in general. Most recently I have been working on research on public service media across Europe and new business and production models in the UK and internationally.

Summary of main points:

  • The BBC has a critical role globally and at national and local levels – these are different but should be complementary
  • Like all media organisations the BBC has to respond to new technological, social, economic and political realities by changing its organisation and activities
  • The idea of ‘public service’ has enduring value but must be reviewed in the light of new contexts
  • The BBC must prioritise its services to reduce in some areas and possibly develop new roles: universality does not mean ‘doing everything all the time’
  • The BBC must become a much more citizen-centred service, facilitated by the new technologies of personalisation
  • The BBC must become a much more networked producer by recognising its role in supporting wider creative industries and building social capital by acting as a commissioner and curator
  • The BBC must retain its core editorial values but be more critical of those in power and orthodox opinion and more risk-taking with a stronger emphasis on distinctive quality
  • By being more networked and citizen-centred the BBC will become more accountable, efficient and creative, but its governance and management should also be reformed. The BBC must also become much more diverse and challenge its own cultural biases
  • The BBC must reduce its overall capacity through a combination of commissioning, collaboration and prioritisation, but should retain the licence fee while preparing for potential new forms of financing