Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Doctor Who leak previews future of broadcast content

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With the kind of eccentric timing that laid the premise for nearly all the episodes of the original BBC TV series, the long-awaited 21st Century version of Doctor Who - due to be broadcast on 26 March - was leaked on the Internet this week, much to the horror of the mainstream press.

The news was timely because it reminded the executives who make decisions about these kinds of things what the future of entertainment content consumption really holds, in the same week as Tessa Jowell and her royal charter team decided that the BBC would continue to get the licence fee for a least another ten years. The report also officially acknowledged that the BBC has a key role in leading Britain into the digital future.

By and large, the BBC has already played an important role in the development of this industry, both from the B2B and consumer-facing perspectives. Yet you can't help feeling that the review team might have come to a different decision about the licence fee if they'd prioritised their review in terms of the digital future of 'broadcasting', as against the quality of Panorama and Fame Academy, or whether to keep the board of governors.

I say this not because any of these matters is unimportant, but because it's already becoming clear to anyone who pays attention to the evolution of media that the days of broadcasting as we know it are numbered. Executives at BBC New Media know this and are already planning a manifesto to explain how the Corporation hopes to use new media platforms to provide public service content.

As the BBC leads us into a world where all its content is available for download, sharing and consumption on any platform we want, whenever we want it, and where who's consuming it and when is easily measured, you start to wonder how appropriate the flat tax-style of the licence fee will be. As BBC Internet controller Tony Ageh says in our News Analysis on page 16, the move to put all of the BBC's content online "represents a massive challenge for an organisation that was originally set up purely as a broadcaster".

And you don't have to wait until the Creative Archive is up and running. Some commentators suggest the technology for the BBC to charge via digital subscription could easily be implemented now.

All this brings us back to Doctor Who and the democratic consumption of content via the Internet. Only people desperate to see it will have gone to BitTorrent to download it - after all, unlike music or movies, you can watch it for 'free' in two weeks' time. This is undoubtedly the future of content, though: people getting it when they want it. A more detailed discussion now about how this type of consumption is paid for might have been more expedient.

Yinka Adegoke, deputy editor, NMA yinka.adegoke@centaur.co.uk

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  • APA 6th ed.: Adegoke, Yinka (2005-03-10). Doctor Who leak previews future of broadcast content. New Media Age p. 18.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Adegoke, Yinka. "Doctor Who leak previews future of broadcast content." New Media Age [add city] 2005-03-10, 18. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Adegoke, Yinka. "Doctor Who leak previews future of broadcast content." New Media Age, edition, sec., 2005-03-10
  • Turabian: Adegoke, Yinka. "Doctor Who leak previews future of broadcast content." New Media Age, 2005-03-10, section, 18 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Doctor Who leak previews future of broadcast content | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Doctor_Who_leak_previews_future_of_broadcast_content | work=New Media Age | pages=18 | date=2005-03-10 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 September 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Doctor Who leak previews future of broadcast content | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Doctor_Who_leak_previews_future_of_broadcast_content | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 September 2019}}</ref>