Magazine article Marketing

Public Argument over BBC Boosts ITV's Credibility

Magazine article Marketing

Public Argument over BBC Boosts ITV's Credibility

Article excerpt

It has been a torrid few days for the BBC - and the response has been characteristically tetchy. The storms seemed to blow up from nowhere but were made worse by the presentational and marketing approaches.

The first blow was the precisely targeted ITV report to the government on the BBC's increasingly commercial schedule, given enormous extra credibility by Richard Eyre's engaging question to Michael Leapman: "Now will you believe me we are not out to get the bastards?"

Then the leaking started. The story on offer to the media ahead of the publication of the BBC's annual report was the rather old information that it was prepared to spend up to [pounds]1bn over five years on all things digital. Such profligacy when compared with any likely shortterm audience attracted has already been denounced up and down the land. It's almost as if they want to give ITV a chance in the ratings battle. The Faustian deal, either explicit or implicit, appeared to involve not writing too enthusiastically yet again about Sir John Birt's remarkably modest above-inflation pay rise.

Things started to fall apart when the great and good were wheeled in - separate entrance from the press - to 'comment' on the annual report as a exercise in accountability. Hoots of derision as the great and good, who had not had much chance to read the small print where the Beeb buries its bodies, rose as one to say how marvelous the Corporation was in virtually every particular.

"What did you want us to do?" asked an irritated BBC executive, who had also pocketed his above-inflation pay rise. …

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