Links: DMI and BBC Online Service Review
Hi everyone it’s been an eventful few weeks for BBC Online, so here’s a quick run-down of the main news stories and opinions over the last month.
The main news story was the announcement that the BBC will close its Digital Media Initiative (DMI). DMI started in 2008 and intended to move the BBC’s production and archive operations to a fully integrated digital way of working. The scrapped project will have cost £98.4mllion.
BBC director of operations Dominic Coles on the About the BBC blog:
"We are very aware that the mistakes made must not happen again. We never forget we are spending Licence Fee payers’ money and we will learn some hard lessons from this experience. By their nature technology projects, especially those that attempt to break new ground, are high risk. This is not unique to the BBC. But in future we will do more to mitigate those risks. We will be quicker to act when projects are not delivering."
"The corporation said the initiative had been badly managed and outpaced by changing technology, and that to carry on would be throwing good money after bad."
The BBC Trust review of DMI can be found on the BBC Trust's website as a PDF.
The announcement, along with news that the BBC's chief technology officer has been suspended, was reported extensively across online news portals and beyond.
The news of the closure of DMI happened on the same day as the BBC Online Briefing. Director of Future Media Ralph Rivera answered questions about the project and its failings at the BBC Online Briefing. Some of his responses were captured in tweets:
The Guardian reported:
"A largely clean bill of health for BBC Online, which reaches 22 million people each week, was marred by the criticism that its online local news, considered the 'most important product in the BBC Online portfolio', is not as good as coverage of UK and international news."
And Advanced Television picked up on the recommendation that Online and Red Button should merge:
"It also wants to see the convergence of online and Red Button to see Connected Red Button – as available in Virgin Media homes – spread. It said that as the BBC Red Button “increasingly becomes a gateway to access BBC Online,” it would be sensible to bring them together under a single service license. This would help them to complement each other in the future, the Trust said."
While The Independent reported on the failure to reach the target 65 per cent of the UK adult online population by 2013:
"The report also revealed that audience appreciation index (AI) figures have fallen from a high of 83 in 2008 to 78 in 2013. The AI dropped as low as 72 last year, following changes to the site including a relaunch of the BBC Online news service."
Last week the BBC Trust announced its approval for the BBC to offer radio content for download to align it with the current TV catch-up offer on iPlayer. This means radio programmes will be available to download for offline access from 2014.
"For many folk, this has been a long-time coming. It means they will be able to download shows at home and listen to anywhere – this includes underground stations and even other countries where iPlayer isn’t available to stream."
"It's bad news for Windows Phone users who haven't yet got the latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system though, as the BBC announced today that the app will not be supported on Windows Phone 7.5, despite having promised that it would make an appearance on older devices."
"The BBC says it wants to take what it learnt from the Olympics and other major events held in the meantime - such as Hackney One Big Weekend - and bring a different view to the UK's largest music festival."
And finally, the BBC Trust has also upheld a complaint that the clock on the BBC homepage was "inaccurate and misleading", reflecting the time on a users computer as opposed to the accurate GMT time. Picked up by the Daily Mail, the story soon created buzz on Twitter:
@kcorrick: No matter the result: that a) someone complained abt this b) BBC Trust thought it worth taking seriously, says good things abt UK #bbcclock
An article in the Guardian expressed sympathy:
"Time measurement has vexed humanity throughout history – even before Einstein discovered that, from the complainant's point of view, a moving BBC clock ticks more slowly than a still one..."
Thanks everyone and have a good weekend.
Eliza Kessler is the content producer for the BBC Internet blog.