Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Jana Bennett at Banff

jana bennettJana Bennett, the Director of BBC Vision, gave a long speech at the Banff World Television Festival yesterday. Much of it hymns the praises of the Corporation, for example in the development of shows like Gavin And Stacey.
To give you a sense of just how much artistic space we've given these new writer-performers, in the three years since they brought Gavin And Stacey to us there have been nine emails between the BBC and its authors. Just nine emails in three years. Read them and weep.
(Sadly she doesn't actually name the 'new writer-performers', James Cordon and Ruth Jones, but never mind)

Later on in the speech, however, comes what looks like a significant announcement, picked up by Leigh Holmwood for Media Guardian - that the BBC will create "a permanent [web] page for every episode of every programme the BBC has ever broadcast."

The online BBC iPlayer has shown, Bennett argues, that audiences will seek out shows after they have gone off air. A web page for every episode will direct them to where they can find more information or view online once the initial iPlayer window has closed.
...these permanent pages will always direct the audience to the programme – wherever it may be on the web – first in iPlayer, then elsewhere on or on iTunes or on any number of other on demand services including Kangaroo.

Each page and clip will be promotional for that programme in perpetuity. They will offer the possibility of hits that go on and on, or are re-discovered when the time is right.

There are already over 160,000 individual pages. Eventually, we will add our programme back catalogue to produce pages for programming stretching back over nearly 80 years – featuring all the information we have on the richest TV and radio archive in the world.

The BBC is committed to releasing the public value in that archive and these pages are going to play a central role in allowing us to do that.
Her speech culminates in an assertion that, as far as the BBC is concerned, big really is beautiful.
For the BBC, the TV hit matters because we are charged with connecting with as wide an audience as possible, with bringing people together in moments of shared experience – to entertain, inform and educate – to promote understanding, to contribute to the national and international conversation, and always to create fresh and distinctive experiences – surprise and delight across all our platforms.

Because the TV hit is more than merely an industry success story. It forms part of a battle against the forces of division and fragmentation within our countries and in our world.

Bigness is necessary for collective experience. That's why Big TV is Beautiful. The world needs it.

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