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The BBC's Plan for Digital TV: Questionable?

Magazine article Marketing

The BBC's Plan for Digital TV: Questionable?

Article excerpt

The BBC has just launched a period of public consultation on its digital television plans. Such processes tend to get under way as soon as the BBC has wholly made up its mind on every detail of what it intends to do and there is no possibility of any of the proposals being changed. But naturally, the BBC is a totally responsive, completely accountable, modern public corporation, so the opinions of the licence fee-payers have to be diligently sought in order that they can be properly ignored.

Another sign that the time for discussion was already over came last week, when the BBC governors held a seminar on the BBC. The corporation wanted to hear the views of the great and the good and of the members of the various advisory panels the BBC still likes to set up around the country.

Things got off to a splendid start as the man fronting the occasion, Nick Ross, got the cat out of the bag straight away. Would the BBC be prepared to change any of its plans in the light of any arguments they heard? Or to put it in political terms, did the BBC plans amount to a green paper or a white paper?

"Green with white edges," replied. Sir Christopher Bland, the BBC chairman, who at least has the merit of blunt honesty. Green with white edges is common code for: 'We know exactly what we want to do and, barring an electoral catastrophe, absolutely intend to do it.'

So now we know the BBC will use licence payers' money to kick-start the world of digital terrestrial TV both with new 'free' channels, such as 24-hour news, and with a raft of 'commercial' subscription channels. …

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