BBC to increasingly look to web delivery, says CTO

Matthew Postgate

Matthew Postgate

The BBC will increasingly use the web to deliver programmes and services to viewers in the future, according to chief technology officer, BBC Engineering, Matthew Postgate. 

Outlining his vision for the future, Postgate said that BBC Engineering’s priorities are to “make sure we’re flexible, efficient and can take advantage of all the digital developments happening in broadcasting.”

He claimed that the web and new technology is “changing broadcasting fast”, with people already able to film broadcast quality content using just a smartphone. Postgate said this is not only changing how people watch and listen to programmes, but how the BBC will make them.

“We will increasingly use the internet to deliver programmes and services to you in the future – whether that’s to the big screen in the living room or the smartphones and tablets scattered over the house,” said Postgate in a BBC blog post.

“This opens the door to entirely new forms of content that are much more data-intensive than audio or video – things like Ultra-HD or virtual reality for example. I’m not saying these technologies will take off overnight, or that they’ll take off at all for that matter, and traditional broadcast technology will continue to be critically important for many years.”

Postgate said that the £1.1 billion in savings that the BBC has delivered across the corporation since 2007 was in large part due to innovation, and that BBC Engineering is in the process of transforming the way it procures and manages its biggest technology contracts.

“We are moving away from one monolithic, long term contract with a single supplier, to multiple shorter-term contracts with a number of specialist companies. We are saving £90m over the next two years and we expect to deliver similar savings once we’ve completed the transition,” said Postgate.

“Because of this tremendous pace of change, our foundations need to become more flexible than we’ve ever needed them to be in the past. It’s no use laying the groundwork for a factory when in three years’ time we find we need an apartment block.”

BBC Engineering, formerly known as BBC Technology, is the division that keeps the BBC’s services on-air and covers everything from transmission for TV and radio to cameras, mixing desks, email and business systems.