Television

BBC unveils 'Creative Future' to address digital vision

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MUMBAI: The BBC has unveiled Creative Future, a new editorial blueprint designed to deliver more value to audiences over the next six years as laid out in the recent Government White Paper. For the past year, ten teams have been exploring what the world may be like in 2012, what audiences may need and want and what the BBC needs to do about it. It explores quality content for the on- demand world .

The plans build on opportunities created by new and emerging digital technologies and confront the challenges of seismic shifts in public expectations, lifestyle and behaviours and on building new relationships with audiences and individual households, informs a press release.

Delivering a lecture, BBC Director-General Mark Thompson will say: "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. The BBC needs a creative response to the amazing, bewildering, exciting and inspiring changes in both technology and expectations.

"On-demand changes everything. It means we need to rethink the way we conceive, commission, produce, package and distribute our content. This isn't about new services it's about doing what we already do differently. The BBC should no longer think of itself as a broadcaster of TV and radio and some new media on the side. 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.

 

"We can deliver much more public value when we think across all platforms and consider how audiences can find our best content, content that's more relevant, more useful and more valuable to them. I see a unique creative opportunity. This new digital world is a better world for public service content than the old one."

Key recommendations include:

   -Relaunching the BBC's website to include more personalisation, richer audio-visual and user generated content

    Create a new teen brand delivered via existing broadband, TV and radio services, including a new long-running drama and comedy, factual and music content

    -Create easy access points for audiences via broadband portals around key content areas like Sport, Music, Knowledge Building, Health and Science

    Start commissioning more 360 degree cross-platform content

   - Shift energy and resource into continuous news on TV, radio, broadband and mobile, making News 24 the centre of the TV offering, moving talent to it and breaking stories on it

    Improve the quality of Sports and Entertainment journalism and appoint a specialist Sports Editor

    -Create one single, pan-platform BBC Music Strategy and develop big events like this Autumn's first BBC

    -Electric Proms as well as more personalisation enabling people to create the equivalent of their own radio station

   - Take entertainment seriously, learn from the world of video games and experiment with commissioning for new platforms

   - In Drama – create fewer titles with longer runs, find creative space for outstanding writers and cherish the programmes audience love best like EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City

    In Comedy – improve the creative pipeline across all platforms, pilot more shows, find new talent and build the big hits for BBC ONE

    -Give sharper age targets to the CBeebies and CBBC brands and integrate all children's content – including online and radio - under these brands

    Pilot a Knowledge Building online project called Eyewitness – History enabling people to record and share their memories and experiences of any day over the last 100 years

The release adds that the Creative Future plan provided a map for the on-demand future where compelling, content, easier navigation and greater audience understanding were essential. "We need to focus on making great creative content which our audiences love and is relevant to their lives. It is that simple, " says Thompson.

But he also warned that unless the BBC worked harder to reach younger audiences and those that felt increasingly distant more effectively, the BBC could lose a generation forever.

The plans have emerged from the year-long Creative Future project, sponsored by Thompson and the BBC's Creative Director Alan Yentob. The project has involved hundreds of people across the BBC, the independent sector and other industry partners, underpinned by one of the largest audience research and insight initiatives the BBC has ever undertaken.

Some detailed key recommendations by genre are:

Journalism

#A new pan platform journalism strategy, including mobile devices, is already underway, putting 24/7 news on the web, broadband, TV and radio at its heart for unfolding stories as well as analysis.

#Sport and Entertainment journalism will be improved. Responsiveness and authenticity are important qualities to audiences.

#Current affairs will be reshaped and BBC News will work with the education sector to get BBC journalism into secondary schools across the country through initiatives like Schools Question Time.

Sport

#Creating a BBC Sport broadband portal with live video and audio, journalism, specialist sports and interactive comment, which builds on the recent success of the Winter Olympics and reflects the diversity of sport across the nations and regions of the UK.

# Launching a new flagship Sports News programme on TV, appointing a BBC Sports Editor and phasing out 'portfolio' programmes like Grandstand, a brand which no longer has impact, in favour of BBC Sport branded live events and highlights.

Music

#For the first time, a single BBC music strategy across all platforms, with regular cross platform events like this Autumn's Electric Proms, including TV Music Entertainment and commissioning in Radio & Music.

# The aim is be the premier destination for unsigned bands and to seize the opportunities of broadband, podcasting and mobile.

Kids & Teens

#All children's output, including radio, online and learning will eventually be consolidated under the CBeebies and CBBC brands which will be given tighter audiences targets – up to 6 and 7-11 years respectively.

# Create a broadband based teen brand aimed at 12-16 years, including a high volume drama, comedy, music and factual content.

Comedy

#Developing the creative pipeline for comedy across all radio and TV networks – local and national - and kickstarting contemporary sitcoms by increasing the number of pilots, investing more in rehearsal time and script development, maximising access through new media and experimenting with bespoke content.

# Improving training, nurturing talent, relaunching the comedy website and holding an annual BBC Comedy day for those involved in creating comedy for the BBC.

Drama

#Intensifying the pace, energy and emotion of TV dramas, such as the award-winning Bleak House or The Street currently on BBC ONE, while continuing to cherish the big runners like EastEnders and Casualty that audiences love.

# Creating more writer-led radio landmarks, opting for fewer TV titles with longer runs and higher audience value, supporting single dramas and writers and experimenting with the drama inherent in gaming and interactive – such as the online drama Jamie Kane.

Entertainment

#Deliver more consistent, braver, high production value entertainment on Saturday nights on BBC ONE, plus at least two stripped entertainment events on the channel each year.

# More effective piloting, cross media commissioning and closer collaboration with other genres like factual and leisure to build top shows of the future like The Apprentice - from factual entertainment.

Knowledge Building

#BBC content which documents the world and inspires audiences to explore, learn and contribute should come as one proposition and be available permanently after transmission. Knowledge Building content should be as big an offer from the BBC as BBC News.

# The appeal to people's interests and passions has a long term value so the BBC will rethink its approach, pan platform, to key areas like Natural History, Health and Technology.

# It will also pilot Eyewitness – a national grid marking every day over the last 100 years –giving anyone with a story to tell about a particular day the chance to record and share their memories with others.

Cross platform content and commissioning

#Building on big ideas and events that can work across platforms as well as on linear channels, while meeting specialist interests via on-demand.

# It will mean a different approach to commissioning and integrating key output areas.

Thompson said these and more detailed recommendations in each area were just the beginning of creative renewal and would be facilitated by other important initiatives. These include: feeding more audience insights and research into the creative process and developing new cross platform measurements; also putting technology and its potential at the heart of creative thinking; developing a pan BBC rights strategy; launching a more powerful search tool as bbc.co.uk is upgraded, cracking metadata labelling as a priority and ensuring that the BBC is organisationally and culturally ready to make the Creative Future recommendations real.

"Audiences have enormous choice and they like exercising it. But many feel the BBC is not tuned into their lives. We need to understand our audiences far better, to be more responsive, collaborative and to build deeper relationships with them around fantastic quality content," says Thompson.

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