BBC strategies focus on online content, adviser tells Heritage committee

BBC strategies focus on online content, adviser tells Heritage committee
by: CBC News

The importance of making content widely available online was the frequent refrain in Ottawa Tuesday morning as the BBC's chief public policy adviser spoke at a hearing of the Canadian Heritage Committee.

"The impact of digital technology cannot be underestimated," the BBC's Wilf White, who was joined by his deputy, Daniel Wilson, told the committee at a session exploring the role of a public broadcaster.

Newer technologies such as the BBC's iPlayer — which offers web audiences the opportunity to watch its television or listen to its radio programming from the past seven days — "is radically transforming our business," White said.

Despite also struggling with problems like market fragmentation, funding constraints and increased competition from new broadcasters and other platforms facing North American counterparts, White said the BBC considers it a very exciting time and is focused on looking for new opportunities.

He praised 1990s-era BBC director-general John Birt for his foresight about the internet as an emerging technology and vision that there would one day be little distinction between radio, television and online.

Because of decisions the former chief made, "there was always a strong link between our television and radio services and our online services," White said.

"As soon as [audiences] realized there was content there … they started wanting to explore."

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