Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Laurels and resting

At midday a week on Wednesday, delegates to the Media Summit (66% from the C suite, whatever that means) will pile into the lecture room at the Royal College of General Practitioners in Euston Square to hear from BBC Director of Strategy (and formerly Digital) James Purnell.

He'll walk a difficult line - there's no doubt that securing a licence fee deal for 11 years, albeit with similar financial deprivation to that handed out to most Government departments, is a triumph. But in that tricky period between White Paper and Printed Charter, there's renewed to-ing and fro-ing with the DCMS, trying to adjust definitions of the unitary board, distinctiveness, the NAO audit process and Ofcom's BBC wing into words that Lord Hall likes. Special assistants and BBC policy wonks have a few more sandwiches to eat, and there'll probably be some mild entertaining to be done at a higher level down Great Portland Street. Rona Fairhead will want to play her part, too.

More interesting for Mr Purnell will be the questions, and the session is hosted by former BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas. He and the audience will be keen to know more of James' future plans. Is he really going to be installed at the head of a BBC-content-producing-division-with-a-funny-name ?  Without challenge ?

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