BBC Worlwide build digital team

So BBC worldwide are expanding in to the comskunk works business. According to the Editors Weblog (quoting the Media Guardian)

BBC Worldwide is creating “Digital Delivery”, a team of about 30 people who will be responsible for developing and launching a number of community-based, video-rich websites. The team is headed by BBC Worldwide managing director for magazines, Marcus Arthur.

What do I mean by comskunk? Skunk works set up with the express aim of producing commercial product rather than encouraging innovation. See projects red stripe or badger for similar efforts.

But I digress.

According to the Guardian:

BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm, has earmarked 15 areas for potential online launches, or re-launches of existing websites.

In the article Marcus Arthur comments on the teams focus.

“The team has been set up to prioritise and focus on a quicker time to market for websites related to programme output based around certain genres,” said Mr Arthur.

Looking at the performance of their magazines recently it may not be too difficult to guess at the areas they will pick on.

But is this an opportunity for the BBC to really explore the idea of community rather than simply genres? I hope so.

It would be great to see much more focus on the aggregation of content from across range of output rather than more gardening and motoring websites.

2 Replies to “BBC Worlwide build digital team”

  1. Yeah, but the interesting question is why is this in BBC Worldwide? That’s the BBC’s commercial wing and not part of the license fee ‘corporation’.

    If this is something that overlaps with their public service website offerings people will ask why it’s being run commercially, with advertising (including to UK users).

    It could also be an empire building fight – building a centre of excellence in the organization to gain greater resources. Question on that one is "is the commercial wing the right place"? I would have thought video-led communities should be something ‘core’ to the BBC Future Media offering, and not a commercial periphery.

  2. Fair points. I think the fact that it’s driven by the magazine part of worldwide is telling. All the issues you raise around commercial activities, advertising etc. are all issues that have been argued again and again here.

    You only need to look back at Arthurs part in the TV listings scrap (Radio times etc) that eruppted a few years ago to see that he is no stranger to the debate.

    I see the efforts more as something thats indicitive of the way the magazine industry is working and BBC worldwides power and commercial leverage in that area than something related directly with the BBC’s core business.

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