Saturday, February 27, 2010

BBC beats itself up?

Ones suspicions are not unsurprisingly raised by lead stories in News International papers on the subject of the BBC.

It might not be the case that directions are being followed but it does not do too much harm to the 'The times' to earn some brownie points from a certain family dynasty leader.

I'm far from a fully paid up cheerleader to the BBC but do regard the News International agenda on the subject of UK broadcasting as questionable.

In truth the BBC is often attacked for being both successful and unsuccessful, drawing too small an audience on BBC 3 and too big an audience on BBC 1, super-serving the middle classes with Radio 3 and pandering to the masses with Radio 2.
The review conducted by/for Mark Thompson (who incidentally if web comments are any sort of indicators of popularity is deeply unpopular) seems to indicate that for PR purposes radio services BBC Asian network and Radio 6 are to be sacrificed the reports also suggest a retreat on Internet ambitions and a cut on BBC TV imports.
Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised that the reports of potential are meeting with approval by the Conservatives?

Now several questions occur one is why is that males in the 35 year old age bracket (sought after by advertisers) should not have a radio network that serves their musical tastes? (and it costs around the same amount as Mr J Ross)

Another question could be why a praised radio service for Britain's Asian should be closed?

And a third - Isn't the dramatic capital projects overspend more significant? (£110 Million).
Perhaps in fact a Chief Executive on a salary of something like £880,000 a year plus perks who has been in post at such a time should be replaced rather than sacrificing the public services the organisation should have at the heart of its existence?

So perhaps the BBC needs to get closer to its audiences but it could be that this can be achieved by other means than making it smaller which incidentally benefits certain commercial interests?
{There's a petition here against the proposed radio closures if you are interested.]

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brand repair & recovery ? (an object/abject lesson)

What an interesting phenomena were witnessing with the damage limitation exercise being carried out on Toyota's behalf.

Will the press adverts and associated PR fluff cover what some believe has been revealed by the safety recalls of late?

If ever a brand has had to fight for it's survival then this is a prime example.

Mass market cars have become a commodity product with differentiators becoming of negligible significance - so how do we select our bulk standard family car -by reputation and brand the answer thunders back.

Which country and manufacturer produces the most reliable cars - Toyota is what I would have heard 6 months ago but now the response is anyone but Toyota.

As the beleaguered US car industry rubs their collective hands together a recovery operation moves up a gear and Toyota starts a fight for life (make no mistake this is serious).

Time will tell if it can regain credibility and acceptance - The jury is out.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Red Bee and the role it plays in UK Broadcasting

I went to an interesting presentation held under the auspices of the IET at their West London venue.
I realised that Red Bee was responsible for the transmission of the BBC TV channels but I was not aware that it also provided presentation for channel 4's services (Channel 4 regional feeds E4 More4 4OD and Film4 included) and had carried out the transfer from Channel 4's Horseferry Road to Red Bee's White City centre without missing a beat.

Ian Wimsett Senior Technologist and David Popper the Head of Solutions Build at Red Bee Media gave a full account of how the transfer was planned and managed, they emphasised the importance of TUPE staff and the value of a parallel running programme.

It is in some respects surprising that these outsourcing arrangements are made which seem to provide benefits to the incumbemnt operators as well as profits for the company taking over the operation (other examples include SIS and Siemens).

While Discovery has bucked the trend in Chiswick Park and 'insourced' from Ascent its playout of 50+ TV channels operation others continue to remove staff from their payroll and rely on carefully drawn contracts to make sure they continue to deliver to their audiences.

Is it a good thing or should broadcasters retain responsibility and control of their own destiny?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Ex Broadcasting ministers and former DG second guess the Tory policy

Cavendish Centre W1 4th Feb 2010 - RTS - The Tories are Coming?

Much as a group of old soldiers join up to relive their glory days a bunch of former broaddcast policy makers got together under the chairmanship of Channel 4 News's Krishnan Guru Murthy to talk about their goldne past

The stellar line up of former MPs Chris Smith and Norman Fowler (both now Lords), David Mellor (ex MP and Chelsea strip wearer) and Lord Birt (former Dalek BBC Director General) spoke about their expectations around a possible Tory Broadcasting policy on Thursday. All agreed that their wouldn't be a sudden lurch but that the BBC trust was doomed.

While Mellor spoke about how he craftily defeated Thatchers plans for the BBC Chris Smith spoke about how it was necessary to have a reasonable length of time on the job (of late the Media portfolio has changed hands with worrying speed ).

City TV could be the one innovation if cross ownership regulations are relaxed and if it is considered worthy of investment (good news for the Guardian Media Group who have been slogging away at this for some time.)

Birt was determined that change was inevitable and thaat the DCMS had not risen to recent challenges -all agreed that ITV would no longer be able to function as a PSB in the soon to be digital only TV environment.

There was some praise for OFCOM but a view that policy should lie with government and not the unelected quango seemed to hold sway.
Time will tell if a future government feels obliged to hold to the Status Quo - if pressure for cuts and sales of assets become impossible to resist change will be inevitable - let's see how it all looks in 18 months time.