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"Does the BBC still believe in digital?": yes

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Kerstin Mogull | 15:31 UK time, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Nick Thomas, an analyst at Forrester Research, has posed the question on paidcontent.co.uk 'Does the BBC still believe in digital?'.

The simple answer is yes: we have responsibilities for digital switchover, we are investing in digital infrastructure and we will continue to provide great digital content and services.

Mark Thompson clearly stated in The Guardian on Tuesday that the BBC is not in retreat from digital content and that we know this is not what audiences want. In fact over on silicon.com today they've just published a round up of their recent coverage on what is happening in the BBC's digital future.

The proposals announced this week are about providing clear focus in key priority areas to provide greater long term value to audiences and a more open approach to a wider online market. Doing fewer things to an even higher standard. BBC Online is very much part of the BBC's future and we remain absolutely committed to the web as a third platform alongside TV and Radio.

BBC Online reaches 53% of the online audience with 28 million users a week. As our third medium, it needs to meet BBC standards for quality, impact and effectiveness even more than it currently does today. The proposals also state that as the internet comes to the living-room through television sets, it will become more important still--and indeed, one day, may be the only platform and delivery system that the BBC needs to fulfil its public purposes. You can read the full details of the proposals here.

Kerstin Mogull is Chief Operating Officer, BBC Future Media & Technology.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Well TINA rules, doesn't she, Kerstin? The switch to digital TV is in full swing, and radio is soon to follow, and if Canvass does not go ahead the manufactures will, as they are doing, installing the 'net in the TV. But curiously the 'Sixites' can't find R6 other than on DAB! Grandad me thought they advertised themselves as the 'connected' generation.
    Incidentally I see a private Kangeroo is in the pouch at the moment.. If it grows up it will be a disruptive technology (which is I suppose the REAL reason why the Trust rejected it.)

  • Comment number 2.

    The problem with the Digital religion is that it includes both reasonable quality and absolute rubbish quality.

    Digital Radio (DAB) uses really out of date technology and we appear to be stuck with it - why? It is a really quite inefficient and low quality way of broadcasting sound.

    We are also seeing the same thing in TV (incl. HD) too - multiple channels using a low bit rate and an inefficient compression technology - why?

    We need honesty not marketing hype. We deserve to use the latest technology not twenty year old technology we need an evolving technology strategy - where is it?

  • Comment number 3.

    Kerstin Mogull:

    Yes, BBC stills believes in Digital....


    (D)

  • Comment number 4.

    "The proposals also state that as the internet comes to the living-room through television sets, it will become more important still--and indeed, one day, may be the only platform and delivery system that the BBC needs to fulfil its public purposes."

    You see, the BBC often makes statements like this, but then on the other hand does things like cut off a chunk of people who are already consuming the output of, and interacting with the BBC in this way. It just makes me think "hot air" (and I realise, sometimes expel it).

    In order to achieve that ambition, it might be advantageous to develop more open technology, rather than secretive proprietary arrangements with a closed set of established "big player" partners and device manufacturers.

    The thing about open technology is that it often has reciprocal benefits. Sometimes the pluses are more obvious for purely commercial enterprises (e.g. driving traffic), but I can think of dozens of ways it could benefit the corporation. Not least that you harness lots of people's enthusiasm and ideas - for free. The types of software and devices being developed will be years ahead of the consumer goods equivalents, and beyond what is feasible to develop in-house.

    If it's zero cost to the BBC, it helps to fulfil the public purpose, even in a small way, why not? Really, I would love to hear why not.

    Put the piracy/freeloader argument to rest, see how people can innovate with BBC content and services at the core, you might be pleasantly surprised.

  • Comment number 5.

    Lens - you may find this post interesting. Although it's about content management on Freeview HD many of the arguments in it could also apply to your comment. You may also be interested in this recent comment.

  • Comment number 6.

    Nick - thanks for the links. I'm aware of those posts, indeed extracts from my comments on the latter are quoted in the article from The Register which was subsequently blogged about.

    If you feel they missed the point I would be genuinely interested to hear a more in-depth discussion of the rationale.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm probably straying into areas where I shouldn't but...

    The BBC is not against open technology. I'm told that much of the iPlayer is built on open source products. But in order to get BBC content on all platforms we have to work with everyone including big player partners and device manufacturers. If we didn't there'd be no iPlayer on wii for example.

  • Comment number 8.

    #7

    To say that the BBC Iplayer is built on open source products is not true. IPlayer uses the propriety Adobe Flash technology. As I understand it Adobe have published the interface so that anyone can write thier own player. Fortunatly Adobe have always been very keen on making thier product work on a wide range of platforms.

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