BBC Exec Wants To Open The Archives

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How would you like to have access to 1.2 million hours of video footage?

That’s enough to keep your eyeballs occupied for about 137 years.

This is quality stuff, too – the entire BBC archive. Ashley Highfield, the corporation’s Director of Media & Technology, wants to provide you with that access, and he wants to do it for free.

“We’ve got one of the world’s largest archives, if not the largest archive,” Highfield told the Independent. “And yet, because we’ve got so few channels – routes to our audience – inevitably 99.9 per cent of that content stays on the shelves. We ought to liberate it and make it available, how, when and where our audience would like to consume it.”

Sounds good to me. Highfield singled out some great shows, including The Apprentice, Top Gear, and Blackadder, which he’d like to make available.

His benevolent motives mesh well with a competitive business strategy.

“What we have is an opportunity now in Web 2.0 to actually get ahead of the game, because we do have one of the most advanced creative industries, our television industry is world renowned,” he said.

Highfield’s attempt to “liberate” the BBC archives is enough to qualify him as a great guy in my book. He’s also a car enthusiast, which earns him major bonus points.

The piece in the Independent mentions a short drive in a Formula 1 car, and a period in which he was a Ferrari owner (and a remarkably modest one, at that).

This BBC VIP wants people to keep an eye out for the launch of the BBC iPlayer, “which will allow internet users to view the corporation’s television shows for a week after they are broadcast.”

It should be available “at the end of next spring,” and it will represent an important step towards Highfield’s goal – “to empower people and give them total control over their media consumption.”


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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.

BBC Exec Wants To Open The Archives
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