BBC Sets Objectives For Future: Arts To Benefitâ€¦
The BBC released an important document this week – the snappy-titled BBC Summary Workplan. 50 pages in total, it is intended to be an annual initiative that will help management and staff set objectives for the coming year.
The objectives will be in line with four over-arching goals for the corporation between now and 2016. These are:
- to increase the distinctiveness and quality of its output
- to improve value for money to licence fee payers
- to do more to serve all audiences
- to set new standards of openness and transparency
According to the document, "nine workstreams have been set up to answer questions relating to the BBC's digital future.
Each workstream has been set three challenges:
- to contribute to the pan-BBC financial challenge of finding 20% savings by 2016;
- to increase delivery of the five editorial priorities (journalism; knowledge, culture and music; UK drama/comedy; children's; events that bring communities/nation together);
- to increase quality while maintaining the reach of the BBC's services to audiences".
One area which seems to be an immediate beneficiary of the BBC's new priorities is Arts. On the same day that the BBC published its Workplan, Mark Bell, BBC Commissioning Editor, Arts, announced a major new initiative, Things To Do, which will aim to engage audiences to participate in arts and cultural activities linked to BBC programming. Bell also unveiled a number of upcoming arts-based programmes.
A new Things To Do website will allow the BBC to highlight the outreach work of publicly-funded and not-for-profit partners long-term. To enable this, the BBC has announced a data-sharing partnership with the online aggregator for the cultural sector, Culture24, to allow cultural institutions across the country to share public-facing learning activities that are related to BBC programmes and brands.
According to Mark Bell, this pairing of content will "unite BBC arts programming and audiences with activities in the UK cultural sector. BBC partnerships enable UK arts organisations to extend and broaden their audiences – last year 24.7m people tuned into BBC arts programmes across BBC television channels."
In terms of programming, Bell highlighted Arts Troubleshooter, a three-part series that follows arts business guru Michael Lynch as he helps three UK arts organisations overcome artistic and financial challenges. He also unveiled BBC1's Imagine - one episode of which looks at the strange case studies of clinical neurologist and author Dr Oliver Sacks.
In a one-off for BBC1, broadcaster and art critic Alastair Sooke will look at the 10 most valuable paintings in the world and how they came to have such large price tags. BBC2's Arena, meanwhile, will explore the various talents of British theatre and opera director, author, television presenter, humorist and sculptor, Sir Jonathan Miller.
Returning to the BBC's Work Plan, the document also summarises new services to be launched during 2011/2012. These include a revamped online strategy, Radio 4 Extra and the BBC Archive Journal of Record. Also significant is the corporation's ambition to up its game in response to a number of calendar-defining events:
"2012 will be a defining year for the UK," says the Corporation, "one in which the BBC will be in the international spotlight as never before. The UK will host the London Olympics (for which the BBC is the UK rights holder) and there will also be major events including the Diamond Jubilee and the arts festival Festival 2012. For the BBC it presents a unique opportunity to show that it is still at the heart of national life, still the place where people come for the biggest moments."
The BBC's five objectives for the year are to:
"Bring the UK together around a series of events in 2012 – from what is expected to be the first Diamond Jubilee since 1897 through the Cultural Olympiad to the Olympic Torch Relay. It should be an amazing year and it will be celebrated across all our genres: from the big ceremonies and state occasions through to music, performance and comedy.
"Deliver brilliant coverage of the London Olympic Games as the biggest sport occasion ever held in this country. Beijing set a high standard, but we believe the BBC presentation style and craft skills that brought 45 million people to the Games in 2008 can be even better deployed on home soil. The BBC intends to deliver, for the first time, live sport each day from every venue of the Olympic Games. There will be up to 24 simultaneous streams of live sport available online, and connected TV and devices will offer new opportunities for the audience to personalise their viewing experience.
"Have wide-ranging and expert reporting of the news of the year – globally, nationally and locally. Only the BBC can offer the strengths of TV, radio and online news at every level from UK communities to audiences across the world.
"Drive digital – supporting innovation and offering an unprecedented amount of choice and personalisation. 2012 is the year when analogue television will be facing its final switch-off, and digital will provide more opportunities to offer people what they want whenever they want it.
"Secure a legacy for the UK and for itself through engaging the widest possible range of audiences, encouraging participation & delivering projects with long-term benefits."