The BBC’s inconsistent approach to commercialism
I genuinely don’t understand the BBC’s implementation against its policy to remain unbiased towards (or indeed against) private sector organisations.
I understand the ethos. They must not be seen to subjectively favour one organisation over another, one product over another—or indeed to criticise products or organisations in a similarly subjective way. But the reality is very different.
Radio 1 DJs wax lyrical about their Twitter accounts and their Facebook pages. These have become of greater importance than the DJs’ respective pages on the bbc.co.uk domain.
A couple weeks ago*, right on cue, Chris Moyles and his crew waxed lyrical about their Twitter and Facebook offerings, no holds barred. They then announced a competition amongst the posse (to coin Steve Wright in the afternoon). The posse member that created the video that attracted the greatest number of views during their two-week off-air period would win.
The videos, once created, would be hosted on the BBC website. Moyles argued that this would be rubbish, as “people with specific types of phones” would not be able to access them because they used a certain type of technology. He was alluding to iPhone users, as the BBC uses Flash as the basis for its video content, and Steve Jobs didn’t like Adobe. Reluctantly, Aled (the producer) revealed that they were talking about Flash content.
But then Aled then waxed lyrical about an app. that could be downloaded to (un)said iPhone called Skyfire (full name Skyfire VideoQ™) that converted Flash video into a format that could be accessed by the iPhone. Cost: £2.49.
I genuinely don’t understand why Apple’s product is unmentionable, along with that of Adobe (despite the reluctant reveal). Yet those of Skyfire, Twitter and Facebook are considered common currency.
Every week, Mark Kermode gives a subjective critique of the latest film offerings, pushing people towards some films (made by some film makers) and pushing them away from others (made by other film makers). Is this not the artistic equivalent of Moyles?
Is it genuinely down to ignorance? Or is it a subjective call, based on Apple’s products costing a pretty penny? Whatever it is, the policy is being implemented inconsistently and this is a cause for concern.
For me, I’d like the BBC to acknowledge the existence of brands, products, services, organisations. And I’d like them to refer to these things in their communication to us, the general public. Yes there should be some balance. And yes there should be processes in place to ensure that those talking about these things weren’t getting backhanders for talking about them.
YouTube is the video channel of choice for a huge swathe of the market. Facebook and Twitter are similarly dominant. iPhones, iPads, Samsung, HTC, they all share the market.
I’d much rather be presented with a balanced picture of the services and products that contribute to our lives, than to be shielded from commercialism on the basis that such exposure might be biased.
* Although an Americanism, I simply *adore* the use of “couple” without the accompanying “of”.