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Coffee House

Tony Hall’s digital vision for the future of the BBC

8 October 2013

12:26 PM

8 October 2013

12:26 PM

Tony Hall, the Director General of the BBC, has just laid out his vision for the next 10 years of the BBC. He opened humbly, arguing that the culture of the BBC had to change in the wake of the Savile and pay-off scandals. The corporation had to serve the licence fee payer to justify the extraordinary privilege of public funding. The BBC must remember that it is publicly owned, he said.

Warming to his theme, Hall said that managers had to remember that theirs was a ‘creative job, an enabling job and an inspiring job’, and that the corporation must celebrate creativity. Hall says that the BBC will have to work with the private sector where it can to improve its output and to make itself more efficient because the licence fee will be frozen until 2017.

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Looking to the future, Hall promised huge changes to the BBC’s digital offering, to spread the BBC around the globe and to reach a generation who place the mobile phone and the tablet above the radio and the TV. Content on BBC iPlayer will be available for 30 days from next year. There will special iPlayer-only programmes to turn the player from from a catch-up TV service into an online TV service, presumably to rival services like Netflix. A personalised iPlayer will also be developed to bring the BBC’s coverage of sport, culture, entertainment, news, live events and so forth closer to its users. And the iPlayer app, launched this year for UK users, will be rolled out globally.

New services will include a BBC Store where people in the UK can buy and keep content. BBC Playlister will allow people to ‘tag’ music they hear anywhere on the BBC and listen to it later.

Hall aims to double the BBC’s global audience from a quarter of a billion to half a billion. To do this, the BBC will offer more and better content across genres and platforms. For example, Hall renewed his commitment to investigative journalism and foreign reporting; clearly trying to correct the oversights exposed during the Savile scandal, and to make the most of the decline of foreign coverage in the press.

Finally, Hall said that the BBC will reach into schools and colleges to help to create a generation of digitally literate children: a modern form of public service.

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