Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Americans are coming

Since we've started noticing birthdays, happy 47th to BBC Director of Radio & Education, James Purnell.

He warmed up yesterday with a speech at The Speaker's House with an ambitious title, "The Future of Broadcasting". Joy of joys, it's being broadcast on BBC Parliament on Saturday at 9pm. As Lord Hall told the Scots, that's when most people are available to view.

If you haven't got time, it says we're on the brink of broadcasting/cultural dominance by US companies and finance, and must invest in all forms of British broadcasting (and culture) now to survive that terrible fate. It says James is going to run an Ideas Service, but he's not sure what it will look like, and he must be allowed to fail. (This is reminiscent of the "agile" development of the over-running myBBC project). It says Ofcom must not be allowed to micro-prescribe the genre composition of BBC Radio Networks - part of the small print of the Charter written, effectively, by the commercial Radio Centre, adopted by Whittingdale, and let through by Bradley. And the speech pleads for pole position for public service broadcasters on the launch pages generated by the new raft of set-top boxes and dongles that we're attaching to our tvs.

If this looks like a BBC strategy speech, coming at a time when Sir David Clementi and Lord Hall are "boot-camping" the new unitary Board, then I wouldn't be at all surprised.

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