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Governors launch new tighter remit for bbc.co.uk


Category: BBC; New Media

Date: 08.11.2004
Printable version


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 value.

 

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 BBC’s 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.



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Category: BBC; New Media

Date: 08.11.2004
Printable version

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