[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Rivals criticise BBC's strategy
Mark Thompson
Mr Thompson's announcement has been closely scrutinised
Rival broadcasters have criticised the BBC's plans to ensure its survival into the digital age.

ITV has called for a full review of the strategy and said any changes should be closely scrutinised.

News International said BBC director general Mark Thompson has failed to recognise the "alarm" caused by the potential impact of the plans.

Mr Thompson has said the corporation must harness new technology to secure its future.

On Tuesday, he announced the BBC's Creative Future strategy to make the corporation's output appeal to the MP3 generation.

The government put no independent regulator in place to stop the BBC using its digital roll-out to roll over a whole host of companies
James MacManus
News International
That includes a new teen "brand", broadband portals for areas like music and sport and a relaunch of the BBC website.

But an ITV spokeswoman said: "We would expect in light of the government's recent White Paper proposals that any new BBC service or change to existing services, including online, mobile and broadband, will be subject to a full public value test."

James MacManus, executive director of News International, which owns Sky Television and community site MySpace, said the BBC had "scant regard for the concerns of the commercial sector".

'Begging bowls'

"What alarms us most of all is the government put no independent regulator in place to stop the BBC using its digital roll-out to roll over a whole host of companies seeking to grow their own digital future," he said.

"Why should public money be used to create competition to a successful commercial venture such as MySpace?"

The Guardian newspaper said the BBC's rivals regarded the strategy to provide more on-demand internet content as a "land grab".

Writing in The Independent, media commentator Raymond Snoddy said the cost of keeping in touch with the younger generation was creating more expense for ordinary citizens.

BBC CREATIVE FUTURE PLANS
Grandstand phased out by 2009
Fewer dramas to be higher quality and higher profile
More comedy pilots and talent to find hits
More consistent, braver Saturday night entertainment
Relaunch BBC website
New teen "brand" but not with its own channel
Broadband portals for topics such as sport, music, health

The BBC and Channel 4 were "now increasingly in cahoots as the last defenders of UK public service broadcasting", he wrote.

Mr Snoddy welcomed the alliance, but added "if only both successful and powerful organisations wouldn't run about with their begging bowls quite so ostentatiously".

The Times' Dan Sabbagh said Mr Thompson was "obsessed with the youth audience".

The BBC's rivals were concerned about the "detrimental impact" the scheme could have on the commercial market, he wrote.

Mr Sabbagh concluded that the expansive Creative Future scheme was another example of the BBC "never concluding that it needs to stop producing a service".

The Daily Mail said the BBC was "dumbing down to woo young viewers", adding that rivals were accusing the corporation of "parking its tanks on their lawn".

The Sun - part of News International - said the BBC planned to "copy" the group's MySpace website and was "bloated", using the licence fee to imitate existing commercial services including Sky TV, another of their stablemates.


SEE ALSO:
Cautious welcome for BBC strategy
25 Apr 06 |  Entertainment
Grandstand axed in BBC facelift
25 Apr 06 |  Entertainment


RELATED BBC LINKS:


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific