Axed DMI ballooned and burst while watchdogs sang Kumbaya
By Andrew Orlowski
Analysis The BBC lied to Parliament by giving MPs and auditors glowing progress reports on a £100m computer project that embarrassingly flopped, it is claimed.
The project in question, the “strategic” Digital Media Initiative (DMI), has now been abandoned at a cost of at least nine figures; a rapid decision by the new BBC Director-General Tony Hall. The DMI was supposed to modernise the broadcaster’s storage of footage and other material, but it ballooned out of all proportion.
However, the internal Beeb body with the statutory responsibility to represent TV licence fee-payers’ interests, the BBC Trust, failed to provide oversight and encouraged the expansion of the utopian project, which became a kind of evangelical mission; it is a failing that raises doubts about the current arrangement of “internal arm’s-length self-regulation” at the BBC.
Astonishingly, in 2011 the BBC Trust urged that scrutiny of the DMI should look beyond “narrow financial thresholds”, and urged conventional cost-benefit analysis be thrown away or expanded to include new (and intangible) Kumbaya benefits, such as enabling people to do “mash-ups” and third-party access to the BBC archive. The watchdog had gone feral.
Source: The Register