TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: BBC Targets Music Downloads in Internet Strategy

BBC Targets Music Downloads in Internet Strategy

Adam Pasick (
Mon, 29 Aug 2005 13:03:38 -0500

By Adam Pasick

The BBC wants to be a major player in the digital media world and is
considering partnerships with private businesses to sell music
downloads, Director-General Mark Thompson said on Saturday.

The publicly-funded broadcaster is testing software called MyBBCPlayer
to let users download its TV and radio programing, and plans to use
its powerful presence to take its place among Internet media giants
like Google and Yahoo.

"Everything we know about the online world suggests that it's the big
brands -- the eBays, the Amazons, the Microsofts -- that punch
through, and the BBC is one of the big brands," Thompson said in a
speech at the Edinburgh Television Festival.

The British Broadcasting Corporation's Web site is the fifth most
popular in Britain, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

It already makes recent radio programmes available for post-broadcast
listening on its Web site, and in recent months, 1.4 million users
downloaded recordings of nine Beethoven symphonies that the
broadcaster offered for free.

There were 60 million online requests for video footage following the
London bombings.

Thompson said that people listening to BBC Radio 1 online could
eventually click on a link to buy a song being broadcast.

The idea that "there needs to be a vast cordon sanitaire" between
public service and commercial transactions "flies in the face of the
way the public actually use the media now," he said.

The BBC plans to a launch a trial incorporating parts of MyBBCPlayer
next month, with a full roll-out in 2006. The plan is to offer
on-demand TV and radio programing, live streaming of BBC channels, and
access to the broadcaster's huge archives.

Thompson said it was "ridiculous" to think that technology-savvy
consumers "would not welcome the opportunity to actually buy a
download of a piece of music they have heard on a BBC Website."

The prospect of the BBC using its massive heft is likely to upset UK
media and Internet companies, which have often complained that the
corporation -- funded by a mandatory tax on UK television households
totaling nearly 3 billion pounds -- has encroached on activities in
the private sector.

Thompson said that when and if the BBC links to online music stores,
"the choice of commercial providers (would be) fair and open."

Ashley Highfield, director of BBC New Media and Technology, told
Reuters that the BBC has not yet held any discussions with online
music providers.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily.

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: USTelecom dailyLead: "Intelsat Buys PanAmSat for $3.2 Billion"
Go to Previous message: Adam Pasick: "Piracy Crackdown Spurs Shift in Onine File-Sharing"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page