Optimise The BBC

I like the Beeb, possibly the largest, and most reliable news source on the planet.

Now the BBC wants to take on Google and AOL, and they want more public money to do it:

A publicly-funded BBC is the only organisation in Britain capable of taking on the global commercial giants of AOL and Google, its director general said yesterday. Arguing for an increase in the BBC’s annual £2.9 billion licence fee above the rate of inflation, Mark Thompson said the corporation needed the money to become a global player.”

Funding issues aside, the BBC may offer a valuable alternative on the search landscape. There are obvious dangers in having all our information filtered by purely commercial search companies, or, if we were to be a little unkind, search-related advertising networks.

But, is a few billion enough? Can the BBC even hope to compete with Google? Is this proposition realistic?

  1. rossiorossio06-01-2006

    Speaking as an ex-pat, I would certainly want to know more specifically what the Beeb intend to do, or how they propose they are going to compete with Google or AOL.

    bbc.co.uk is exceptional in terms of the service it provides at the moment, and so I wonder exactly where they intend to take the site given the extra income generated by a hike in the licence fee.

    Also, given their tight restriction on having anything even closely resembling a commercial interest or activity I wonder why they are looking to move further down the path with bbc.co.uk.

    Who knows? But one think is for sure – the demographic in the UK that is going to complain/resist an increase in their licence fee is also largely the demographic that uses bbc.co.uk the least and who will most likely be at the forefront of the Government’s mind when they decide whether or not to go back on their licence fee guarantee and sanction the increase.

  2. DarrenCDarrenC06-01-2006

    Yes, we have to pay for a TV licence, but if that pot of money is going on maintaining and improving the BBC website, then I am all for it – its probably one of the few websites that I visited regular daily.

    The TV and radio stations are crap but the website is worth every penny in my book.

  3. Peter Da VanzoPeter Da Vanzo06-01-2006

    Also speaking as an expat, I’d like to hear more about the “what” and “how”, too.

    I agree that the BBC sites, especially their news sites, are “worth every penny”. An increasingly ethnocentric web, channeled via private media companies, isn’t healthy, imho.

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