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BBC looks to MySpace for Web site revamp

The BBC is in danger of losing the interest of the young generation unless it develops a new breed of personalized and on-demand programming, according to Director General Mark Thompson.
/ Source: Reuters

The BBC is in danger of losing the interest of the young generation unless it develops a new breed of personalized and on-demand programming, according to Director General Mark Thompson.

As part of a shift in its online and digital media strategy, Britain's publicly-funded broadcaster said it will revamp its Web site to include user-generated content such as blogs, music and home videos, similar to the MySpace service that is hugely popular with teenagers.

"The BBC should no longer think of itself as a broadcaster of TV and radio (with) some new media on the side," Thompson said in an advance copy of a speech due to be delivered on Tuesday evening.

"We should aim to deliver public service content to our audiences in whatever media and on whatever device makes sense for them, whether they are at home or on the move."

The BBC, which is negotiating with government over the level of funding it will receive through the next seven years, will also enable people to catch up on BBC programming through an online BBC iPlayer, which has already been rolled out on a trial basis.

"At any time, you'll be able to download any program from the eight BBC channels and then watch it on your PC and, we hope, move it across to your TV set or down to your mobile phone, to watch it when you want," said Ashley Highfield, director of new media and technology.

The BBC will run a contest that asks individuals to redesign its Web page, holding up online services Flickr, YouTube, Technorati and Wikipedia as examples.

Other initiatives include a plan to let radio listeners create their own customized stations, and the creation of a teen-focused brand that will span TV, radio and broadband.

"The second wave of digital will be far more disruptive than the first and the foundations of traditional media will be swept away, taking us beyond broadcasting," Thompson said.