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.


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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Show comments
  • McRobbie

    Comfy warm words but no hard, and hard action is what the BBC needs. To take £4.8 BILLION out of the economy and offer mediocrity and perpetual waste of resources in this time of constraint is not good enough. The only way to improve the BBC is to fund it by subscription paid by choice rather than threat of criminal court. Hall has missed the point, he must stop tinkering at the edges and make radical change bringing the BBC into the modern digital age with freedom of choice being the driver.

  • Fergus Pickering

    God, the man’s a fool. Is this the best they can do?

  • WatTylersGhost

    BBC in the UK is funded by the public under threat of prison. BBC Iplayer available to the world funded by advertising.

    Advertising is good enough for the rest of the world, but coercion through threat of kidnap is right for the British.

    What hypocrites.

  • toco10

    Until Tony Hall addresses the BBC’s naked political bias towards the Labour Party and its sinister penchant for grossly highlighting bad news and pretty much ignoring good news in its news and current affairs broadcasting the BBC will continue to go downhill.By way of example it is currently carrying out a review of its news and current affairs programming and invites contributions from licence fee payers but specifically bans any discussion about impartiality under the review’s terms of reference-this also seems sinister to me.
    Hall should take take time out to listen to some of the broadcasts over a number of days and reflect on the lack of impartiality and the unbalanced emphasis on bad and negative news and then do something about it.Checking out the ‘Today Programme’ and ‘Question Time’ wouldn’t be a bad start.

  • Russell

    THE BBC licence fee (and that is what it is) should not be frozen until 2017, it should be scrapped. The saving to licence fee payers would be most welcome, and the reduction in the taxpayers contribution via the government will further assist reducing public sector spending. The BBC should be sold to release a few £billion which can be used to benefit taxpayers, and the new buyer can turn it into a subscriber service.
    The BBC like the EU is a bureaucracy organisation giving jobs to the boys from the people who regard themselves as an elite, and they continue to reward themselves and their chums with grossly overpaid, obscene salaries/pensions/expenses/pay-offs and must be disbanded along with the EU, and in addition all the Quangos. The same treatment is required in all public sector organisations like the NHS, Councils and most of the major charities and obviously ‘fraud’ charities which are set up purely to avoid tax.

    Perhaps the taxpayers who fund all of this can then be rewarded with affordable services and a lot more of their own ‘hard earned’ cash in their pockets to spend as they wish.

  • Bluesman_1

    Thanks to the unique way the BBC is funded…nothing much will change except the level of provider dominance on media output.

  • The Red Bladder

    Whatever they do the organisation will still remain a mouthpiece of the Labour or the Conservative party, whichever one the speaker or writer is opposed to really! It all gets tedious don’t it?

    • Russell

      It all gets too expensive to the real hard working people of this country, and this is not addressed by any political party including unfortunately my party UKIP (yet).

      • The Red Bladder

        I really wouldn’t know about that having been a bone-idle shyster since the day I left school after that unfortunate business with matron’s corset, the lard from the school kitchen and the phosphorus purloined from the stinks lab.