New BBC boss outlines his vision

By | Published on Wednesday 19 September 2012

George Entwistle

The all new boss of the BBC, George Entwistle, has announced some bold plans in his first address to Corporation staff as Director General. It included some immediate changes, including the departure of his main internal rival for the DG job Caroline Thomson, and some vaguer pledges to more closely align the Beeb’s TV, digital and radio/music divisions, which will likely dismantle many of the structures put in place by his predecessor Mark Thompson just six years ago.

Warning of further cost cutting ahead, but pledging to not shut down any individual BBC TV channel or radio station in order to meet budget demands, Entwistle said of the need to better integrate the three big BBC divisions, Vision, Future Media and Audio & Music: “To be ready to create and curate genuinely digital content, we will need to integrate all three disciplines … We need to be ready to produce and create genuinely digital content for the first time”.

Other immediate changes include the cutting of the BBC management board in half so it can meet more frequently and replace the existing smaller ‘direction group’, and the merger of all back-office and finance functions into one division headed up by the Corporation’s CFO, currently Zarin Patel. Quite what Entwistle’s vision will mean in practical teams for the other strands of the Corporation isn’t yet clear, though it seems yet more radical changes should be expected.

Entwistle also talked of the need for more international successes, ie the creation in-house of programmes and programme formats that can be sold to other networks abroad via the Beeb’s commercial unit BBC Worldwide. The DG indicated that the Corporation at large would increasingly rely on the revenue generated by Worldwide, and said that unit would need to expand.

Though, presumably wary of those in the commercial media who object to BBC Worldwide’s existence, he stressed that should be done by the main bit of the Beeb creating successful franchises for Worldwide to exploit, and not – as has happened before – the commercial division pursing its own business interests in the music, publishing and DVD sectors.

You can read the full speech at this link.