Thursday, February 11, 2010

BBC 'to cut digital spending'

By Tara Conlon in Media Guardian:
BBC Vision, the corporation's TV and video content division, is to cut back on digital spending to protect its programme budget.

Jana Bennett, the BBC Vision director, recently told a meeting of television producers that the corporation wants to reduce digital costs and focus on ensuring that the BBC continues to make high-quality programmes. One source said: "She said digital spending will be reduced but not reveal how much."


  1. Believe it or not, this is a positive step and one which the Guild has been suggesting to the BBC for months. The Beeb are second-to-none in digital development but, what we've had recently, is a plethora of channels but not the shows to fill them.

    We've all played BBC Pin Ball Wizard, watching programmes like "Doctor Who" and "Gavin & Stacy" ricochet from BBC1 to BBC2 to BBC3 within days, only to reappear on some other digital channels further down the spectrum, and iPlayer. With most of the country on digital now, a channel is a channel is a channel. Once a rationalisation of them comes, the ones that will be left will have more of a unique identity and... best of all... money for new scripted quality shows, which means more work for writers. And isn't that what we all want?

  2. What I want is the freedom to watch the television programmes of my choice without having to pay a compulsory tax to the BBC.

  3. But how are these programmes going to be paid for, Bill? Commercial television companies, like ITV, are on their knees financially, which is why the government has just lifted the ban on product placement. Let's hope it helps, but my guess it'll be a boost to funds as opposed to a universal panacea.

    The Pay TV model, whether it's the BBC licence and/ or Sky or whomever I think will probably be the way of the future. Britain's so far in the red that bulls charge us. Telly companies will need the money up front if they can continue to make shows; else we'll be left with reality shows and foreign repeats. Oops I'm wrong. C4 can't even afford old episodes of "Friends" either. Mind you, we could all recite them in unison.

    Anyone want to share any potential future business models?

  4. Tim Walter5:47 pm

    I would have thought the real future for the BBC is in fact in its ability to create online content to support its programmes. So this cut back on digital content is bizarre.

    The plethora of digital channels won’t decrease. Television is changing and we have to face the fact that high quality, high production value, drama will probably only exist in cinemas soon, where the global distribution network is geared to high returns on high investment.

    In our living rooms there will be a profundity of narrowcasting not broadcasting. TV sets are already being made with internet access and as video quality on the net increases more and more people will be surfing from the new-found comfort of their sofas. There are thousands of internet TV channels for specialist interests already. Look at what Boxee is doing for TV. (Google it) There are already over a million users of this new software that links in to existing TV sets to give internet access.

    You might say, "TV is dead. Long live TV."


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