News


BBC must ‘reinvent itself’ for a new generation

During its current charter period the BBC has set itself the challenge of reinventing itself for a new generation, according to deputy director general, Anne Bulford.

Anne Bulford

Anne Bulford

Speaking at the DTG Summit in London this morning, Bulford said that the BBC needs to do “much, much more” to make its programmes and services cut through in an “extraordinarily competitive global space”.

To do this, she said that the BBC is focusing on three major priorities – its creativity, its culture and its global ambition.

“We know that younger people, and indeed older people, are consuming media in increasingly different ways, and we experience extraordinary competition for peoples’ time,” said Bulford.

“We need to do much more to reach audiences and whoever and wherever they are, and however they wish to consume content.”

Creatively, she said the BBC aims to be defined by its boldness and originality during the current charter period. This applies both to TV and online – “where competition is highest, new audiences are most present, and where we can serve them in brilliant new ways”.

“That means reinventing the iPlayer; making the very most of our world-class audio content; making the most of new technologies like AI, voice recognition and VR; and transforming the BBC’s public services to be more open, more creative and be available when and where the public wants them.”

Culturally, the deputy DG said that the BBC needs to be more seamless in how it works together across technical and editorial teams, more nimble in how it allocates budgets, and more responsive to industry changes.

“If we are truly to reinvent the BBC for a new generation, we have to be more entrepreneurial in our make-up,” said Bulford. “This will be a particular focus for me in the months and years ahead.”

She also identified personalisation as another key area that will take up much of her time, claiming this to be “absolutely essential” to the BBC’s future success.

Citing the “reinvention of public service broadcasting” through data, Bulford said: “We believe that the closer and more personal our relationship with our audiences is, the more they will choose the BBC.

“Our goal is that by the time we reach our centenary year in 2022, we will have reinvented the BBC that is irresistible to all audiences.”

Globally, she said that in an era of “fake news” it is the BBC’s mission to be a trusted voice in a crowded area, and that the BBC needs to do more than ever both inside and outside the UK.