The man who launched the BBC News website has laid in to the corporation’s online strategy, as future media and technology director Ashley Highfield prepares to depart to Kangaroo. Bob Eggington, who was project director for the site launched with Mike Smartt in 1997, wrote in The Guardian: “BBC Online needs a new content strategy. If there is an existing content strategy, it is impossible to discern it. The kindest thing to say about some of the sites is that they are unnecessary. BBC online content is allowed to operate to lower quality standards than television and radio.” And Eggington called for a big shrinkage in the number of online staff “back to a small, central team to provide expert support, run the home-page, manage central contracts and encourage innovation”. Eggington has, since his BBC tenure, turned content consultant.
Elsewhere in the land of pundits, Steve Hewlett gets alarmist over how the BBCWW/ITV/C4 JV Kangaroo might make for unfair competition, suggesting the project “is being referred to the Office of Fair Trading”. BBCWW told me it’s doing the referring itself: “In accordance with usual procedure in such matters, we will be notifying the transaction to the OFT and seeking appropriate competition clearance.” And it’s repeatedly assured it wants other partners, like Five, so competition concerns are unlikely to negate the fact that TV material will be getting a wider audience.