Blog Post

BBC’s Creative Future Initiative; Gives Into All The Buzzwords Ever Invented

This post could be very long, but I’ll link to this story from MediaGuardian and then go from there: The BBC has unveiled its “Creative Future” initiative, which will see it take the Beeb into a web 2.0 world of “user generated content” and “findability”, of community and metadata. BBC director general Mark Thompson presenting the Creative Future review (his speech in full), warned that the corporation could become irrelevant, particularly to younger audiences, if it did not develop a whole range of new broadband, mobile and interactive content, as well as radically overhauling much of its TV and radio output. The review includes proposals to put the corporation’s entire programme catalog online (back to 1937) for the first time from tomorrow in written archive form.
Some specific related announcements:
New teen brand: Create a new teen brand and content delivered via existing broadband, TV and radio services, including a new long-running drama and comedy, factual and music content. No names or other details yet. Aims to fill a perceived gap in BBC output aimed at 12- to 16-year-olds – broadly between programming currently offered by BBC3 and CBBC.
Website redesign: to rebuild its website around user-generated content, including blogs and home videos. Also, rebrand MyBBCPlayer as BBC iPlayer. To refocus all future BBC digital output and services around three concepts – “share”, “find” and “play”. The BBC is also running a competition to revamp the 2.0 website, asking the public to redesign the homepage to “exploit the fuctionality and usability of services such as Flickr, YouTube, Technorati and Wikipedia”.
Broadband ambitions: A series of broadband services for teenagers and across the key content areas of sport, music, knowledge, health and science…The sport portal will be at the centre of the plans, with live video and audio, journalism, specialist sports and interactive comment building on the success of the BBC’s recent Winter Olympics coverage…
Bitesizing news shows: Traditional BBC current affairs shows, such as Panorama, could be re-packaged into shorter 10 or 15 minute programmes to make them more “digestible” to the new generation of digital viewer, but also to maintaining “high production values”.
Personalized radio content: Allow its radio listeners to create their own station as part of a push that will see a single music strategy across the corporation for the first time. The corporation is also aiming to be “the premier destination for unsigned bands” via broadband, podcasting and mobile phone services.
And now, some analysis and criticism of these programs:
Emily Bell: This is the vision of some kind of future, but it is not the future of a broadcaster; it is not even the future vision of a content creator. It is the future of an entity which just wants to continue to occupy the same percentage of the media horizon – a horizon which has expanded by a zillion per cent.
Other rivals: “Consumers appear to be satisfied with what they are getting,” said one source at a rival broadcaster. “If they don’t feel a need to consume the BBC’s output should the BBC be spending ever-increasing amounts of public money to chase after viewers in quest of self-preservation? Whose interests are really being served?”
More details in BBC official release here, here and here