BBC Creative Archives: A Recheck

Will Creative Archives prove to be a dud? It may…right now it is vaporware, for most part. At a panel at the “Content Matters” conference last Friday in London [some controversy about the conference, more below], Angel Gambino, controller of biz dev and broadband at BBC, made some clarifications. Firstly, right now the process is going through a jumble of lawyers, mainly due to copyright issues. It is likely to be in that stage for some time. Secondly, BBC will not open up all of its archives online…it says it will only open up content which is deemed to be otherwise unprofitable or non-commercial. Now who’s to decide that? Well presumably, another battery of lawyers and supposed independent firms like KPMG, for sure. For all you know, it might end up just being educational programs.

On another front, DRM issues will be a big hurdle…I asked Gambino about whether users outside of UK will be able to access Creative Archives, and she said they won’t. The DRM issues are still being worked out, as are others. Another line of thinking is that since these programs are not commercially exploitable anyway, so it won’t matter if users outside UK can access it. Or they can do some IP targeting, where users outside UK get a low bandwidth version, or have to pay for it, or won’t be able to access it at all.

On the plan for a super EPG/PVR, Gambino said that the model BBC is currently using for its online radio offerings is a pointer to how they want the video offerings to be.

[The conference was organized by Broadband Stakeholder Group, a private body funded in part by Department of Trade and Industry, UK. Apparently, it has a policy of not allowing press at what it calls “industry think-ins”. This is despite the conference being open and free for any member of the public. I protested at this ridiculous policy, and they did let me in as a plebeian. I was encouraged not to report on it, though. Anyway, since BSG is funded by the govt, I think the move anyway is highly suspect. I complained to Mervyn Levin, the head of broadband content initiatives at DTI (an avid reader of this site!), who was also speaking at the conference, and he has promised to get back to me in a week with some sort of answer…]

For more on BBC’s online adventures, read the dedicated company page.

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