Panel of industry experts to advise on the BBC’s future funding

An expert panel including former Radiocentre boss Siobhan Kenny has been appointed to advise on the BBC’s future funding.

Nine people have been selected in total to provide independent advice and expertise to the Government to help evaluate the current funding model and assess alternative funding options.

Panellists will operate as volunteers and not be compensated for their time or travel expenses.

The panel includes figures from across the broadcasting and media sectors, including the former chief of ITV Sir Peter Bazalgette; the former chief executive of Channel 5 David Elstein; Dame Frances Cairncross, who led the independent review into press sustainability in 2019; and Siobhan Kenny, the former CEO of commercial radio trade body Radiocentre.

As set out in the terms of reference published today, the panel will also explore new ways for the broadcaster to increase commercial income and how it could transition to any potential new funding model.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, who will chair the meetings, said: “The BBC has a unique role in public life, and fulfils an important service in projecting and promoting our values and culture at home and around the world. We want to see it thrive for generations to come.

“But in an evolving media landscape, with increased pressure on licence fee payers, it’s right that we take a look at whether the current funding model is fit for the future.

“That’s why I’m bringing together leading television, radio and business experts to provide independent advice and valuable insight on future funding models for the BBC, guaranteeing its long term financial sustainability.”

Any final decisions related to the BBC’s funding model will be for the Government to make at the next Charter Review, after taking into consideration the expert panel’s insight and guidance on the evidence provided. The public will be consulted as part of the Charter Review.

The full membership of the expert panel is as follows, with descriptions from DCMS:

Martin Ivens is the current Editor of the Times Literary Supplement, a weekly literary review published by News UK and was the former Editor of the Sunday Times newspaper. He has experience transforming print media into the digital age.

Sir Peter Bazalgette brings a breadth of public service broadcasting expertise as the former Chairman of ITV and current Co-Chair of the Creative Industries Council.

Siobhan Kenny, the former CEO of Radiocentre and Director of Communications at DCMS, is the CEO of her own consultancy. She has a unique understanding of the UK radio and audio sectors and how different funding models apply.

Dame Frances Cairncross is a respected economic commentator, formerly working as the Management Editor of the Economist, and led the independent Cairncross Review which explored how to secure a sustainable journalism sector in the UK.

David Elstein has extensive experience in broadcasting, serving as Channel 5’s first Chief Executive and chairing media organisation boards including the British Screen Advisory Council and the National School for Film and Television.

Oli Hyatt co-founded and was the former Managing Director of Blue Zoo Productions, creating TV content for young audiences.

Helen Bower Easton has valuable insight of the BBC World Service and foreign policy as the former Director of Communications for FCDO, and is the current Director of Communications for the Financial Conduct Authority.

Amber de Botton worked at Sky News and then was ITV’s Head of UK News and Head of Politics before serving as Downing Street’s Director of Communications.

Lorna Tilbian is the Executive Chairman of investment and wealth management firm Dowgate Capital and former Executive PLC Director at stockbroker Numis Corporation PLC. She has over 30 years of experience working as a media analyst and as an investment banker.