BBC Online’s Review Starts: Roundup

BBC Story: An official review of the BBC’s online services will be conducted by former Trinity Mirror chief executive Philip Graf…The review will weigh up whether the BBC has stuck to its original plans–approved by the government in 1998–and what impact it has had on the commercial sector. In essence, here’s the argument: “The BBC’s online content is free to users, which, commercial rivals argue, means that no other operator can charge for similar services. ”

— Impact of BBC on Other Online Media Efforts: Emily Bell, editor-in-chief of the Guardian’s website, Guardian Unlimited: What worries her is the sheer scale and resources of the BBC’s operation, which she says threatens to smother rivals.

— Ashley Highfield, director of new media and technology at the BBC told The Independent: [N]ews was a “commodity” on the web, where it was traditionally free. He said those organisations seeking to charge for news should “give up and move on”. He said only niche content, such as specialist research, could work under a paymodel, and the BBC did not operate in these areas

Inquirer UK: According to the BBC, its web of two million pages gets to nearly 50% of the UK population every month, and only cost [UK citizens] £72 million last year. So it’s about US$1 a head a year for BBC Online Services, including babies and very old people who don’t need to pay a licence fee.

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