It seems the BBC is damned if it does, and damned if it doesn’t extend the hand of co-operation. Co-operation with others was a key stipulation in Lord Carter’s Digital Britain white paper. And it has clearly been taken to heart by the BBC’s new director of marketing, Sharon Baylay, who says, in response to my recent column: “We are playing our part in growing and re-energising ‘UK plc’, (we are) committed to forming new partnerships and recognising a special responsibility to maintain public service broadcasting beyond the BBC…”
But, oh dear, look what happens when it puts this doctrine into practice. The announcement that the BBC is to share video news content with four of our national newspapers has caused uproar. All right, part of this uproar is manufactured by News International. Given it owns BSkyB as well as The Times and the Sun, it was never likely to be happy about having BBC branded news content on its online sites. More to the point, though, is the apoplectic rage of ITN which is threatening to throw all its toys out of the pram by “pulling the rug” from the internet video market.
Clearly, Sharon, there’s no such thing as a honeymoon period.