BBC Jam to be suspended
The BBC Executive today confirmed that BBC Jam, the Corporation's online
interactive learning service for 5 to 16-year-olds, will be suspended from next
Tuesday 20 March 2007, following a decision by the BBC Trust.
The Trust's decision follows extensive discussions with Government and the
European Commission about how to address allegations from some in the industry
that Jam is damaging their interests.
Mark Thompson, the BBC's Director-General, said: "We are sorry that BBC Jam
is to be suspended, but we believe the Trust has reached the right decision.
"We believe that BBC Jam is an innovative proposition, aimed at pushing forward
the BBC's digital learning agenda and delivering the formal educational remit
enshrined in our Charter.
"The service was launched in January 2006 with many
conditions attached, following a rigorous consultation process. It was
approved by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in January
2003 and by the European Commission in October the same year.
"Since then, the BBC Jam team - and numerous independent suppliers - have
aimed to deliver the vision of a distinctive, interactive online resource
focussed on the individual learner.
"The service, still in its relatively early
days of roll-out, has begun to prove itself in delivering those aims, and all
involved deserve praise for what they have achieved already.
"We remain committed to the vision of serving learners with innovative
content. In responding to the BBC Trust's request for fresh proposals for how
we should carry forward that vision, we will aim to build on the firm
foundations of the content launched in BBC Jam. The BBC Trust will subject
those proposals to a full Public Value Test, including a market impact
assessment by Ofcom.
"We regret that for the BBC, all staff involved in the service, our external
production partners and the many people who have enjoyed using BBC Jam over
recent months - children, their parents and teachers alike - the decision to
suspend the service will come as a real disappointment."
Notes to Editors
BBC Jam is an online public service (bbc.co.uk/jam) providing resources for
learners in support of the curriculum requirements in the UK.
elements of BBC Jam were launched in January 2006.
Little more than 10% of
the content of the whole service has been made available, while the remainder
was due for roll-out up to September 2008, building up to a portfolio of 136
subject areas (including separate language versions).
The service has a total
budget of £150m, while 50% of the total content budget - some £45m - was
agreed to be commissioned from independent production companies in the private
BBC Jam was approved with a complex range of interlocking conditions -
including specifying that only a relatively small proportion of the content
budget should be spent on "Core" curriculum subjects; limiting the coverage of
any one subject; and limiting the scope for secondary commercial exploitation.
BBC Jam's service licence, which includes details of all the conditions of the
original consent, is available at www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust.
CP/BBC Press Office