Music Blogger Bill Thompson Hacks BBC Brand

July 24, 2008

Three articles that caught my attention.

Bill Thompson on different approaches to what you do when security flaws are exposed. Do you cover them up or put your energy into fixing them.

Alex Ross – music critic of the New Yorker – on his blogging (at a Guardian event). This rang very true for me.

I was feeling gloomy this morning. This cheered me up. Quote:

The BBC’s UK critics seem to see only a rational benefit accruing from simple zero-sum thinking. Hobbling the BBC – cutting it down in size – would not benefit UK listeners and viewers. Less is, of course, less. The UK’s commercial broadcasters would only be inclined to do less, give less, produce less. If any benefit is to flow from the counterfactual argument it’s further empowering the regulator, OFCOM. A commercial media sector unencumbered by the presence of its nemesis would require far more inspectors

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2 Responses to “Music Blogger Bill Thompson Hacks BBC Brand”


  1. Absolutely agree with the point about the BBC. As I wrote somewhere else (can’t find it online)

    In the days before multi-channel TV the BBC set the standard to which ITV aspired, shaping commercial broadcasting in its own image. And during the 1990’s the BBC’s presence online kept the newspapers honest when it came to their online ventures, and vastly improved the quality of commercial websites. It provided a guarantee of quality, integrity and fair dealing simply because it was there, a shining city on the hill that showed what was possible.

    With BBC news and factual there, it was impossible for the papers to gouge the market or offer less, impossible for avaricious commercial publishers to put up shoddy websites and expect to get an audience. The result is the excellence of Guardian Unlimited, the revived and fast-growing Times website and even the Telegraph’s integrated news operation.

    Imagine online news in the UK if the BBC had been constrained back in 1997 in the way it currently is over the iPlayer or the Creative Archive? Imagine if the newspapers had been able to decide, as they did in Norway in 2002, to form a cartel and start charging for content? Imagine if the BBC had had to play catch-up in that world?

  2. nickreynoldsatwork Says:

    I think there should be limits to what the BBC does and think the current, tougher system of regulation brought in with the BBC Trust is better than the old one.

    I suspect if the newspapers in the UK had been allowed to form a cartel and charge for content on the internet, it would just not have worked and sooner or later the BBC would have come to the rescue. A bit like Ondigital turning into Freeview.

    I don’t think the BBC is particularly constrained on things like the archive – we just don’t seem to have decided what we’re going to do yet!


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