Re: "why should I pay for freeloaders"
@Oh Homer "a handful of cultural elitists can enjoy a state-protected relic that apparently is not good enough to survive in the free market"
As I am not resident in the UK, I choose to pay for BBC content by subscription, and I have a choice of other content. In general, a BBC documentary is so much better than a Discovery Channel "there's this cool research we could tell you about in 5 minutes, but we have a 45 minute slot with 20 minutes of advertising" program. Then there's the problem of how the service providers bundle the channels so that I still pay for junk I don't watch, and then they renegotiate their licensing deals every few years so that I get "equivalent" channels.
TL;DR: The "free market" for content isn't, it's a failure. The BBC produces quality content.
I don't know what the solution is. You can call me a cultural elitist now.