Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: Fate of Auntie's Jam Is Real Scandal

Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: Fate of Auntie's Jam Is Real Scandal

Article excerpt

We are all distraught about Blue Peter and the phoney phone-ins Somehow an on-screen apology at the end of the show didn't go nearly far enough to repair the shattered illusions of generations of viewers.

Then Terry Wogan announced at the Eurovision Song Contest nominations that Cyndi Almouzi had won the right to do badly on behalf of the UK, when really the winner was pop group Scooch.

On one level this might seem trivial, but again there remains the question of trust. There is a clear case for suspending the competition while an urgent review is conducted into whether this latest cock-up was the result of premium call-fixing, a dodgy earpiece or a senior moment by 68-year-old Wogan.

We probably won't have long to wait for the next telephone scandal, but until then, it is time to consider two quite serious scandals involving children and British broadcasting that have nothing to do with Blue Peter and haven't received nearly enough attention.

The more serious of the two is the strange affair of BBC Jam, or the BBC Digital Curriculum as it is still known to older viewers, and what it says about the Corporation's relationship with the private sector.

Once upon a time, there was a very talented BBC education programme department broadcasting to schools. Obviously it had to change and adapt to the internet age and the advent of broadband.

What is much less clear is whether the BBC had to entirely reinvent a digital curriculum producing education material that went head-to-head with private-sector educational publishers using pounds 150m of licence-fee money.

Concessions were extracted. Half of the content had to be commissioned from outside the BBC. Commercial publishers still went to Brussels with their complaint that BBC Jam represented unfair competition and was not the 'distinctive' service promised.

In recent days, the result is clear to anyone logging on to BBC Jam. Following the intervention of the BBC Trust, the service was suspended from Tuesday 20 March. 'That means that you will no longer be able to access and use the resources on this site. Unfortunately this also means that any work you have saved or created will be lost, as will any playlists or groups you may have set up,' BBC Jam helpfully explains. …

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