But where does public broadcasting get its funds? Here in Australia, the ABC is funded directly by tax revenue, and the amount given is determined by the federal government. In the US, PBS is funded by a combination of advertisers, government funding and viewer donations.
But by far the most weird way of funding is to be found in Britain. The BBC is funded by what are called "Television Licences". If a person wants to watch TV in Britain, they need to buy a licence. Those licence fees then go towards paying for the BBC's content. It's a novel way of doing things, but, I have to say, it is crazy.
Britain is (as far as I know) the only country in the world where you can be arrested for watching TV. If you haven't paid your licence, government heavies can get you taken to the police. Fines and even imprisonment can occur if you haven't paid your licence fee.
Ah, you may ask, but how would they know? Simple. "They" (ie the BBC) know exactly which residences don't have licences. So what they do is get a "TV detector van" to patrol the streets and nab people for watching TV without a licence.
Of course, owning a TV and only watching DVDs or videos is completely legal in Britain. It's when you start watching broadcasts without paying the licence that you get in trouble.
I have to say, the whole idea is obsolete and inefficient. Here in Oz we just buy a TV and start watching. No licences, no TV detector vans patrolling the streets, no threats mailed to you by the BBC.
To see just how ridiculous this system is, read this website. In it, a person has collected over two years worth of letters he has received since he stopped paying his licence fees. He is treated as though he were a criminal. Moreover, as the letters continue to arrive, he begins to discover bogus statistics and even three different signatures from the same person. Using FOI legislation, he is able to compare what his legal rights are to what he is told by the BBC. It's amusing and very annoying.