Media faces IT upheaval

The BBC's £1.3bn investment in new technology to revolutionise the way it makes radio and television programmes heralds a sea...

The BBC's £1.3bn investment in new technology to revolutionise the way it makes radio and television programmes heralds a sea change in broadcasters' use of IT, analysts have said.

Last week, Computer Weekly revealed that the corporation intends to implement a new web-based programming environment to improve the way it creates content and distributes content over multiple platforms.

The BBC's move shows that broadcasters will need to invest heavily in storage and management systems to help them manage increasing levels of content, said Tony Hart, managing analyst at research firm Datamonitor.

"There has been an explosion in content, from the programmes that are made to the research and information that supports them," he said. "It will become critical for broadcasters to adopt some form of intelligent storage mechanism that is supported by a solid management solution."

As part of the One Choice initiative, the BBC is committed to significantly reducing its core IT costs - a strategy that has already produced £38.4m in savings.

These savings have largely come from deferring projects. "The BBC is being cautious in terms of the projects that it is supporting and weeding out the non-critical initiatives - something that many companies are currently doing," said Hart.

John Varney, chief technology officer at the BBC, was keen to emphasise that the One Vision initiative would benefit all employees, and was not just a corporate exercise.

"The BBC, on the whole, understands that change is necessary but it is vital that we get buy-in from everybody," he said.

However, Hart said  staff buy-in would not be that much of an issue. "It will require some employees to work slightly differently, but at the end of the day, if they can bring up a news clip or a programme from eight years ago - for example, because someone famous has died - within seconds instead of trying to locate the tape, load it and read it, it creates efficiencies and ultimately reduces costs."

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