Thursday, September 28, 2006

Spoilt BBC

Jim Marshall has really thrown his toys out of the pram this time.

One of Marshall's favourite subjects is the BBC. Any article ever written about the BBC, the chairman of Starcom Group UK, will be there telling anyone who will listen that the BBC is killing the commercial sector, ITV in particular.

He is convinced that the all-conquering BBC is the source of many of the commercial sector's ills.

No Jim, really -- poor programming is largely the fault of that. ITV cooked its own goose long ago, with many years of crap ('Celebrity Wrestling', 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' or 'Rock Around the Block' anyone?) helped along by the burgeoning multichannel market.

He even knows it’s not that hot. Last year, he criticised ITV for not spending enough money to promote its schedule and focusing only on 18- to 34-year-olds in its summer schedule.

Speaking at the Future of TV seminar yesterday, Marshall characterised the BBC as a "spoilt child" that had been allowed too much rope to pursue commercial direction activity.

In Jim's mind, this means making popular programming that draws away ratings from ITV, which he knows lots about as a media agency boss. Jim is, also, an ITV expert, what with Starcom having held the £10m ITV media account for a decade until it resigned it in February 2005.

For someone who works in the commercial sector, there's one thing that he hates more than anything else and that's competition, which he spoke about at the seminar.

"I don't think 'The X-Factor' should be run up against the BBC's own show and that's what the BBC indulges in. How is that a public service?" Yes, what the BBC should be doing is broadcasting 24 hours of documentaries and public service announcements all year round, and not aiming for the light entertainment market. Actually, going on programmes such as 'Rome' and 'The Blue Planet', that would not be a bad idea.

If only ITV could compete with similar high quality programming.

Well, a public service is also about offering a choice among other things. If ITV is producing top quality programming that everyone wants to watch then what's the problem? A little competition is healthy, right?

Of course, if ITV is not producing best in show, then that's another matter and it deserves having viewers turning over, after paying their hefty licence fee, and watching something on the BBC instead. Even if it happens to be quite similar, but not the same, as what’s on ITV. And probably better too.


At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently dear old Jim's got a more interesting 'favourite subject' rather closer to your home Gordo...


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