Home Grokking BBC Online and Web 2.0 media business models

Grokking BBC Online and Web 2.0 media business models

James MacAonghus from Aqute is writing a series of posts analysing BBC Online, which I highly recommend you check out. In Part 1 James wrote that BBC’s online reach has been steadily growing. In Part 2 he drills down into the details. Although BBC has more than one online strategy, “a pattern is emerging” according to James. He wrote:

“The BBC is beginning to leverage, in some ways clumsily, in other ways brilliantly, the aspects of the internet that make it into a development platform, namely user-generated content, and content APIs.”

I liked the way James identified different scales of online business:

“1. Leading global brand – Yahoo, eBay, Amazon.

2. Second-tier global brand – News Corp, BBC, Bertelsmann.

3. Leading national brand – Naver, Baidu, T-Online, Terra.

4. Second-tier national brand – Thus, WH Smith, Thomas Cook.”

By “national”, he is referring to Britain – but this categorization could easily be extended to any country.

The problem for BBC, says James, is that online “it is a second-tier global brand, which is unacceptable.” The answer? Of course it’s “to buy into the concept of leveraged expansion that is web 2.0.”

The nub of James’ excellent analysis is this:

“The BBC is opting to provide widespread access to its content as part of a platform strategy. To grow, the BBC needs radically different ways of attracting users.”

But go and read the whole thing (especially Part 2) – it’s well worth your time. In a follow-up post, James quotes from a speech by Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC, on the importance of the Internet to the BBC.

Another thought-provoking blog post this week was Matt McAlister’s A Web 2.0 business model for publishers. This is not unrelated to the BBC Online strategies that James wrote about (indeed Matt even cites BBC Backstage). Matt wrote:

“Every publisher has 2 primary assets: audience and content. The more valuable of the two is the audience, so you have to be more careful with that piece. But the content is something you can exploit in this new world in some interesting ways that shouldn’t be too scary.”

Matt works at Yahoo, which is my pick for the most interesting ‘new media’ company in the world today (I think BBC is right up there too, as you might’ve surmised). Of course I’m biased towards Web companies, but hey even Rupert Murdoch likes the Web these days.

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