BBC criticised over failed digital initiative

The BBC has come under fire for its failed Digital Media Initiative (DMI) with BBC Trustee Anthony Fry calling it “probably the most seriously embarrassing thing I’ve ever seen.”

At a parliamentary Public Accounts Committee meeting yesterday, MP Margaret Hodge referred to letters sent by former BBC Vision head of production Bill Garrett, warning that the Trust and the government may have been misled about the performance of the DMI, by saying: “We were told that there were bits of this system that were working, that you were using them. That just wasn’t true.”

However, according to the BBC’s in-house news service Ariel, BBC North director Peter Salmon, said there had been some limited use of DMI among a small number of programmes.

The BBC said that former director general Mark Thompson will now be summoned to appear before a parliamentary hearing to answer questions on the DMI, which was scrapped last month after new director general Tony Hall admitted the initiative had been a waste of money.

The five year development, which cost £98.4 million, was designed to create new digital production tools and link them with a central, digital archive that would allow BBC staff to access a digital chain throughout the production process, from camera to archive. The BBC’s chief technology officer John Linwood was suspended in the wake of the project’s failure.

Tags: BBC, Regulation, UK