Technology division finds itself on the wrong end of a strategic tussle with traditional broadcasters
From the Article:
For executives in the BBC‘s Future Media and Technology (FMT) department – who, still flushed with the success of the iPlayer, tend to see themselves as gatekeepers to the BBC’s digital future – last week was not a good one. First they copped most of the blame for the £100m failure of the BBC’s Digital Media Initiative: the pan-BBC, end-to-end digital production and archive system that never actually worked. At the public accounts committee on Monday, even senior managers who had once been ardent supporters of the project coalesced around the view that the technology had failed to deliver effectively. In terms of internal BBC politics, it was clear that there had been a lengthy bureaucratic battle, and the outcome was widely seen as the technologists (those eager apostles of the “new”), losing out to television and its producers – in other words the “old”.
Then there is what may be the biggest blow of all. The news that the BBC (along with ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5) are going to cease funding further development of YouView and shift the focus to developing and nurturing a new-generation Freeview service. YouView was originally the baby of Erik Huggers, the BBC’s former FMT director. It was his belief – and in the wake of the iPlayer’s huge success the BBC’s most senior management got right behind it – that on-demand delivery of television via the internet was the future and that YouView could be the way to deliver it, universally and free at the point of use. It was to “revolutionise the living room” and be the upgrade path Freeview needed to compete with cable and satellite. But currently 97% of YouView boxes are there as part of pay-TV contracts with BT and TalkTalk, and the failings of YouView technology (which is out of date and not supported elsewhere) mean that unlike Freeview it is not integrated into new TVs.