Future bleak for BBC?

By | October 15, 2008

So will John Simpson get the sack soon in “horrible circumstances"?

The corporation's World Affairs Editor told an audience at Cheltenham Literature Festival the future was bleak for the Beeb because the license fee was being "chopped away".

Sitting in ITV, as I do, I still have an enormous amount of respect for the BBC. Even if the BBC is feeling the pinch, the budgets seem huge from an ITV employee’s perspective. Whatever turmoil the BBC is going through it seems to be re-inventing itself magnificently.

I was watching the Big Cat Diary live on BBC ONE and online feeling envious of those working on it. They had married the online and TV experiences wonderfully well in this live event. And they seem to have so many bases covered – Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Youtube. It now seems so natural to have a laptop on the sofa while watching the TV these days. 

(As an aside, I was at the local Indian restaurant last night and the young guy behind the bar was taking my order, serving a drink to someone and updating his Facebook, all simultaneously. This is the world in which we live.)

As I’m writing I have open a copy of the Ariel magazine (the BBC in-house publication) which I’ve manage to sneak through the barbed wire at ITV. The talk in this weeks edition is about the bringing together of 3000 people in the English Regions into the news operation directed by Helen Boden. The aim is to enable the regions and networks to work together more effectively – amen to that.  There’s also a feature about the work of Erik Huggers who is bringing new vitality to the BBC’s web offering, “to create the most valued, open, digital media service in the world” 

I suppose John Simpson is right, that this all takes a lot of money, but if you haven’t got the money you just have to get creative.  And in these credit crunch days it is imperative to be more open to collaboration and partnerships. Signs are that the BBC is beginning to be a little less territorial and is opening the gates of the walled garden.

BBC looks to create open standard IPTV platform

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