From Microsoft To The BBC
It has been six months since I joined the BBC as Group Controller in Future Media and Technology and while flying back from Rome to London, I figured that this was a good time to join the conversation.
Many people have asked me: “why on earth did you join the BBC? They have no stock options and by the way do you realise that you are now a civil servant!?!” Believe me, there are days that I ask those questions myself!
99% of the time however, I am exceptionally pleased, excited and proud to be part of this organization and to serve the licence fee payer. The BBC is unique in so many ways that I do not even know where to start; perhaps a better way to start is why I left Microsoft...
I often tell people that I have been very fortunate to work for Microsoft in the digital media space. Over a period of nine years, I was able to globally engage with the media and entertainment industry, the telecoms industry and the consumer electronics industry.
At the time, it did not seem special - but I have come to realize that there are not many people who have worked across the entire value chain. I had great success stories but also my share of failures during the Microsoft years. However hard I worked, I was always trying to convince third parties to adopt platform technologies. My true passion is all about using cutting edge digital media technologies to establish new innovative services for consumers. When I realized that, I knew that it was time to move on.
I briefly looked at some of the Hollywood studios and related industries, but realized that their business models would make innovation very, very hard. To truly make things happen, the studios will have to reinvent their business models and feel comfortable with cannibalising existing/legacy revenues.
By coincidence, the BBC knocked on the door, and suddenly it dawned on me that there was probably no better organization on the planet to truly drive innovation in the digital media space across Web, TV and Mobile. Think about it: a globally recognized and trusted brand name; the world’s highest quality journalism, radio and television programming; fantastic reach in the linear world and an archive that spans over three generations. What more can you ask for?
There is one other thing...
The BBC is pioneering what an online presence means for broadcasters; we are driving interactive TV and have world class mobile services. I'm really enjoying working with my new colleagues, they are some of the most passionate and smartest people I've ever worked with, and believe me: I have dealt with some very smart people.
By now you must wonder: “so what are you adding to the equation?” It is my personal goal to use my industry knowledge and foresight to help the BBC create escape velocity and become the world’s leading media organization in the digital age. What that means I will explain to some degree at the C21 Future Media Conference in London today*. If my new baby boy allows me to sleep I will provide more details here.
*"Today", that is, at the time of writing, not the time of publishing - as spotted by eagle-eyed commenter Michael Walsh below!
Erik Huggers is Group Controller, FM&T