Wednesday, March 12, 2014

When will BBC World Service admit failure?

BBC World Service does a lot of things right. But it is often much too slow to realize when it makes big mistakes. Newsday is a classic example of a policy failure - combining two target audiences in two time zones that really need a different program. And then going on the offensive every time the audience complains.

Newsday is like watching BBC Breakfast TV (without the pictures) when I would rather be listening to Today. It's a classic case of cost-cutting to a point where it goes into failure mode. It's a programme which is not tuned to the needs of an on-demand world. They banter on in London and Johannesburg and then chuck up an audiofile in the hope that the listener will sort out the mess by listening again. What did Tony Hall say about an on-demand world? With no guide, there's no chance of anyone listening. And expensive items get lost the moment they air. They even have the cheek to take it off line after 7 days - so it clearly is not the programme of record. Which is why this whole sequence needs a radical rethink.

In the meantime, I'm going back to the Today programme. Now there's an example that Newsday should be following.

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