Discovery wants UK public cash

Discovery Communications is about to step up a campaign directed at winning UK public cash to help support its programme making. The London Sunday Times reports that Discovery, a wholly commercial enterprise, believes it is entitled to a slice of the (currently exclusive) BBC licence fee funding.

Discovery is said to be backing a scheme from TV regulator Ofcom that proposes that broadcasters might compete for a share of the licence fee for public service programming.

According to the newspaper, Dan Brooke, MD at Discovery UK, cites research showing that of the 8.6m people who watched science programming on one of Discovery’s 11 UK channels this year, 4m did not watch any science programming on one of the public-service broadcasters. “We seem to be able to refresh other parts that official public-service broadcasters cannot reach,” he said.

Discovery has worked co-operatively with the BBC on many projects, not least the Blue Planet and Planet Earth series.