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BBC just "1st user" for iPlayer, to share tech with industry says Thompson

The BBC is just the "1st user" for the iPlayer, which has been developed "not for proprietary advantage, but for whole industry", according to BBC Director General Mark Thompson, speaking at last week's Guardian Changing Media Summit.

While the BBC "sails serenely through downturns", Thompson assured us that the BBC is not "going to stand by as we face the abyss."

At pains to point out the BBC's own internal upheaval, he described a "massive, wrenching process of internal change":

  • 7,200 jobs gone and 1,200 more to follow
  • £524m already made in savings, with "1.9bn further to be saved in this licence fee period."

"All the fault of the BBC"?

Digital is a great democratising force, and there has never been a greater moment for content plurality, said Thompson. At the same time, "in sector after sector, professional content is being threatened by market failure."

However, viewing the current situation in the UK as "all the fault of the BBC" is seriously flawed. Rather, it is the result of a "general undermining of journalism, which is just as visible in US, which has no significant public broadcaster."

The BBC could make a significant contribution to the industry, addressing this "market failure", Thompson said: "for a sustainable and plural digital Britain."

He added, "There is a major, challenging cultural shift to make partnerships work," but the message from the BBC Director was that and, as well as a host of other partnerships, may very well be on the way.

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