George Entwhistle, the new director-general of the BBC, addressed staff this morning for the first time in his new capacity as capo di tuti capi of the organization. And, in an about turn from his predecessor’s policy, “genuinely digital content” is the key.
Entwhistle, a BBC man virtually all his working life, is the first head of the Corporation without a background in original programming–and perhaps it shows. The Beeb’s digital division has, over the past decade, suffered cuts of around a quarter of its budget, with the money being redirected to video.
Since the BBC launched its iPlayer, almost five years ago, the online catch-up service has been genuinely revolutionary, accepting, unlike many broadcasters, that its viewers would seek to watch its shows on other devices besides the TV. It is, however, conceivable that, with this strategy to the fore, original programming may be on the wane. The Corporation has been subject to some fairly drastic cuts as part of the British Government’s austerity measures.