BBC U-turns on £98.4m digital media project

With the broadcaster still reeling from the crisis sparked by revelations surrounding disgraced presenter Jimmy Savile, it’s not been an easy few months for the BBC. Now, in a highly embarrassing turn of events, the Corporation has decided to scrap its Digital Media Initiative (DMI) after spending £98.4m.

Established in 2008, the DMI was devised to create new digital production tools and link them with a central digital archive, allowing BBC staff to access a seamless digital chain throughout the production process.

The key individual components of DMI were to have been: new production tools that could be used to create content digitally on a desktop; a store to house the newly-created digital content; a database to search BBC archives, and a place to store production reports digitally.

An operational review of the project was initiated last October. The decision to abandon it altogether was taken by BBC director-general Tony Hall, who took up the position in April after his predecessor, George Entwistle, lasted a mere 54 days in the job.

The DMI project, admits Hall, “has wasted a huge amount of Licence Fee payers’ money, and I saw no reason to allow that to continue, which is why I have closed it.

“I have serious concerns about how we managed this project and the review that has been set up [by the BBC Trust] is designed to find out what went wrong and what lessons can be learned. Ambitious technology projects like this always carry a risk of failure; it does not mean we should not attempt them but we have a responsibility to keep them under much greater control than we did here.”

Subscribe and Get SVG Europe Newsletters