Feedback on the Open meeting
I promised to report back after the 1st Online 'Open' meeting which we held on Friday 14th August. Many of your comments have struck a chord. For one thing, we should certainly have clarified that the 'open' meeting was with industry players, regulators, suppliers and stakeholders rather than with users of BBC Online.
As it's generally hard to get things right first time round, I was reassured as I walked into Nesta to hear genuine support for the initiative we were taking. Looking through the constructive feedback we've received since, many found it helpful and insightful. This was the first event that tried to outline what BBC Online is going to focus on over the next 6 - 9 months and we plan to do more in future.
External linking came up. We'd already taken steps to expand the ways in which BBC Online links to other websites and click throughs have been running at 10 -12million per month. We want to establish new and richer connections to the wider web where they are editorially relevant and meet our public purposes. We know that our users want us to do this and it's a process that we take very seriously.
I know we inevitably disappointed some who attended. Some areas - particularly formal learning - were covered in insufficient detail for people who feel the BBC competes with their businesses in this area. In this case, it was because we are currently assessing the range of what the BBC provides to support learning by children and teenagers, in order to shape a discussion with the BBC Trust later this year which will inform our ongoing strategy.
Unsurprisingly - given the audience who attended - there were questions and concerns about the effectiveness and transparency of the new media Approved Supplier List (ASL). This provided an opportunity to explain that we are currently reviewing the ASL, a shared, central repository of information - where they are, what they do, what they have worked on in the past and so on - on external suppliers for the use of BBC commissioners.
I want to emphasise that this review, which will be completed by early next year, is aimed specifically at BBC Online. We are working towards establishing a clear and concise process which enables the BBC to commission the best output from the best qualified supplier for any given project. Since online does involve a level of technical complexity, we want external suppliers to have access to clear information about what we require, so that the process is as efficient and transparent as it can possibly be. Through working closely with suppliers, we aim to use their feedback to streamline the process for outsourcing content and services.
It is business as usual whilst the review is conducted and we continue to commission content and services across BBC Online from a wide range of supplier companies.
Seetha Kumar is Controller, BBC Online.
- Watch the videos of the Open day here.