The BBC has unveiled plans to make the BBCi player the top online service in the UK. Alas, it lacks ambition.
The BBC is good, it is respected worldwide, it is famous for its news coverage, wildlife documentaries, and period dramas.
To give an example of the BBC at its best, consider the Crown, which recently did so well at the Golden Globes – it was classic BBC, except that this very BBC like series was produced by Netflix.
Okay, the Night Manger did well, too, and that was the BBC, but you get the point.
The BBC, and excuse the pun, is losing its crown.
Part of the problem is its remit to produce family content, imagine the outcry if it produced Game of Thrones or Walking Dead?
But it is clear that the likes of Amazon Prime and Netflix have stolen a march on the BBC, and when you consider the BEEB’s unique funding model, it really should have done better.
Part of the problem is politics, with politicians always wanting to clip the BBC’s wings, removing its ability to own content – which is why it lost The Great British Bake-off.
But the content business is global now, and the BBC’s regulators and the BBC itself are way too parochial.
Technically, the BBC has always been at the fore. When it was released, the BBCi Player was state of the art.
The BBC’s Broadcaster General, Tony Hall, has said that “we need to make the leap from catch-up service to a must visit destination in its own right.”
One idea is to produce more content exclusive to the iPlayer.
Lord Hall has said that the media landscape has changed beyond all recognition. True, but this was predictable.
The BBC needs to build on its UK base, to challenge the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and future moves from HBO, across the world.
That is the real opportunity for the BBC, one it is in danger of failing to grasp.
It needs less ‘little Britain’, and more content for a global audience, marketed using iPlayer technology, worldwide.