The BBC today today unveiled its future vision. BBC Chairman Michael Grade and Director-General Mark Thompson laid out a clear agenda for change, outlining the value and future contribution the BBC could make to life in a modern, diverse and fully digital Britain over the next decade. “The status quo is not an option,” said Mr Grade.
The publication Building Public Value: renewing the BBC for a digital world is the BBC’s contribution to the DCMS consultation and debate on Charter Renewal in 2006. It lays out a nine point manifesto and actions for how the BBC can take a lead in building a fully digital Britain, ensuring no one is excluded from the second stage of the digital revolution.
The vision stays true to the BBC’s core principles and purpose of making distinctive programmes and services but in a world where the audience is more in control of how, when and where they access the content they like and value. While building platforms and better access to more affordable digital technologies is a first step to a fully digital Britain, the second is about opening up the creative potential and public, as well as private, value.
Innovations like access to the BBC’s Creative Archive and the Digital Curriculum - due to launch in 2006 - are already underway. But pilots such as BBC News’ iCan, which enables active participation in civic life and Media Player (iMP) which, like the enormously successful Radio Player, allows people to download any TV programme within seven days of transmission, give audiences more freedom from schedules than ever before.
“Broadband is the key to turning the BBC’s rich content in to a truly public resource. The public value of this breakthrough could be as great, or even greater than for TV or radio. It is a public service medium,” says the BBC’s manifesto.
“An economist might conclude that the BBC has an important role in preventing various kinds of market failure in the new digital world. Our vision is far bolder,” said Mark Thompson. “We look forward to a future where the public have access to a treasure house of digital content; a store of value which spans media and platforms, develops and grows over time, which the public own and can freely use in perpetuity.
“The switch from analogue to digital television is only one part of this digital transition: creating a digital Britain is about much more than one change in one broadcast technology. If the full potential of the second phase of the digital revolution is realised, it could transform the lives of everyone in the UK.”
Further plans and actions outlined by Mr Grade and Mr Thompson include: achieving switchover from analogue by 2012; reforming Governance and introducing more objectivity, rigour and transparency than ever before; lifting creative ambition; making the BBC more open and less defensive; and moving significant money and decision making out of London and across the UK.