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On the venerable BBC, permission structures, and the high-speed switch to "digital-first" media
Reasonable minds can disagree over whether it is prudent for any country to have an expansive broadcasting outlet funded at taxpayer expense. Most wealthy countries do, but few are as globally recognizable as the BBC. But even a high profile doesn't make a project immune to financial realities.
■ Facing a reported £1.4 billion budget shortfall, the BBC is trying to figure out how to make things work on a tighter budget. And the organization's chief says the central element in the BBC's evolution is to become "digital-first".
■ It's a phrase with a lot of wear on the tires already, but many conventional media outlets have struggled with the transition. Tim Davie, though, says "from today we are going to move decisively to a digital-first BBC". They're going to spend money to make the transition happen -- and the change will affect the nature of the product itself.
■ As Davie put it, "Every part of our news output will now be judged not just on linear performance but streamed delivery." Some conventional broadcast services will be moved strictly online. That will include both television and radio services.
■ For the BBC to make such a move establishes a pretty strong permission structure for much of the rest of the world's media to do the same, if they haven't already. The transition will continue to be bumpy in a lot of places, and the impact on media generally (and news coverage in particular) will have a lot of unforeseen consequences, to be certain. But the world's audiences should consider the floodgates to digital now wide-open.