The BBC Governors
today publish their response to Philip Graf's review of bbc.co.uk, which
they submitted to Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media
and Sport at the end of October.
In his keynote address to the CBI Annual Conference
today, BBC Chairman Michael Grade highlighted the Governors' new remit
for bbc.co.uk and the tools used to develop it as an example
of how the BBC is changing.
He said: "The BBC has played
a key role in driving adoption of the web and in the evolution of the
vibrant online market that we have stimulated.
"We are very proud of that. But this market has
now reached relative maturity. A different approach is needed.
"Today we are publishing
new, much more tightly drawn, objectives. They focus on how bbc.co.uk
can be made more distinctive, and deliver more public value, in this
developing and growing market."
In June, the BBC published its agenda for change and
its vision for the future in Building Public Value.
This included changes to the BBC's governance system
and a commitment to delivering the BBC's public service remit against
the BBC's core purposes to deliver public value.
It is against this backdrop that the Governors' new
remit for bbc.co.uk includes redefined objectives with added emphasis
on public value, by creating ever more distinctive, audio visual content.
Furthermore, a new element has been added to the remit,
in light of the Public Value Test, which reflects the increased consideration
of market impact and assesses this against the potential to build public
After applying the principles of the Public Value Test
some sites that did not add sufficient public value have already closed
and further closures will be announced before Christmas.
The funds released will be reinvested in bbc.co.uk
projects more closely aligned to the BBCs core purposes.
Other new initiatives include:
A new approach towards external providers which
will see bbc.co.uk undertake a voluntary quota with an aim of spending
at least 25% of its eligible budget on content and services through
independent commissions by the end of 2006/07
The continued reprioritisation of spending to
those areas of bbc.co.uk that best deliver public value through the
online medium, notably in the areas of democracy and education
The introduction of a more systematic and comprehensive
approach to linking from bbc.co.uk to external sites, with new guidelines
for content producers on linking to, syndicating to and from, and generally
working with high-quality third-party content
Acknowledging and formalising that bbc.co.uk
can make a substantial contribution towards a 100% digital UK, especially
in broadband adoption and usage
Improving the user experience at bbc.co.uk, making
it simpler and easier for users to find their way around the service
and to give feedback to the BBC
More open access to content, opening up the BBC's
archives for creative manipulation, production and distribution and
increased support for those wanting to create their own online communities
through pilot initiatives such as Creative Archive, iMP and Backstage
In recognition of the still rapid rate of development
in the online market the Governors commit to commissioning a major independent
review of bbc.co.uk in three years' time which will take account of
the current state of the market.
Ashley Highfield, Director of New Media & Technology,
said: "The Governors' recommendations and revised remit for bbc.co.uk
mark a new era for bbc.co.uk.
"We are committed to building on the work we've
already begun to provide a simpler, more open framework for engaging
more collaboratively with the industry.
"Further, to maximise public value, and reach as
many people as possible by providing audio/video rich, distinctive,
innovative content we will de-commission or close those sites that do
not add sufficient public value and reprioritise this investment into
services that do.
"Our ambition is to arrive at a truly distinctive
online operation that is of genuine value to our audiences and results
in a digitally literate UK."
Michael Grade said he hoped the reforms of the BBC's
system of governance would end the necessity for future external reviews:
"We are in the process of implementing far-reaching
reforms of the BBC's own system of governance.
"One of the acid tests for those reforms is that
our own review processes are shown to be rigorous enough and transparent
enough that no Secretary of State ever again feels it necessary to launch
another external review of the BBC."
Notes to Editors
In January 2003 the Secretary of State asked the BBC to submit a report
of bbc.co.uk's performance against its original consent granted in 1998
and the BBC published that report in July 2003 along with an independent
study of the market impact of the service by KPMG.
In August 2003, the Secretary of State appointed Philip
Graf to be the independent reviewer of the BBC's online service and
after a full public and industry wide consultation, Mr Graf published
his report in May 2004.