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BBC: The UK Will Not Be Internet-Only in Next Decade

Charter review tackles the future of one-to-many broadcasting

LONDON�The BBC has published itslatest charter review, headlined �British, Bold, Creative� (The BBC�s programs and services in the next Charter, September 2015.)� This is an important document because inside, the BBC�s plan for the next 10 years is discussed in detail.�

This is a 99-page document and it wouldn�t be hard to take what is written out of context.� I haven�t read the entire thing, but I encourage you to do so, should you think that what I�m about to write is, indeed, taken out of context.�

From page 58 (�An Internet-fit BBC�) we have a plain discussion about the near-future of one-to-many broadcasting.� �Some say that broadcasting will be replaced over the next decade.� We disagree.� The BBC must remain a broadcaster.� In ten years, channels like BBC One or Radio 4 will still be crucial.� We expect at least half of all viewing and listening will be live. The long-form, lean-back drama will be as important to our society as it has been since Sophocles.� We will continue to invest in those services and make sure they are world class. But they will have been complemented by a new set of internet-first services. The BBC will remain a broadcaster but be more than that, too.

�This would not just be about distributing traditional program types in new ways, important though that has been with the iPlayer. The medium will change the message�we would be making different types of program and formats.� And we would be commissioning differently too, no longer treating TV, radio and online as separate sets of services, for instance, but looking across everything that we do to make the content that meets audience needs properly.� Over the ten years of the next Charter, that could have profound impacts on the shape and nature of our portfolio. There is no choice between broadcast and online, mass and personal.� Success comes where shared experience meets individual involvement.

�We want to become internet-fit to be ready for an internet-only world.� Super-fast broadband and 5G will help pave the way.� But, on current trends, the UK will not be internet-only in the next ten years. Some of the things we most enjoy about the broadcast world today, like big channels and huge national events, are going to become even more precious over the next decade.

�But the long-term direction is clear. And to meet that challenge, the BBC needs to become internet-fit. But it needs, even more, to be Britain�s creative partner.�