NMA: New Regulatory Framework Must Put Cooperation at Heart of BBC Principles

The News Media Association has said that the BBC’s new regulatory framework must put cooperation at the heart of its guiding principles after a review of its online services said the BBC’s services must be “clearly distinguishable from the market.”

Responding to the publication of the BBC Online Creative Review, NMA deputy chief executive Lynne Anderson said:  “We welcome the BBC’s acknowledgement that its websites should not seek to be all things to all people and that it needs to provide a more focused and distinctive service.

“It is vital that the new regulatory framework puts cooperation at the heart of the BBC’s guiding principles, ensuring that the BBC supports the wider creative sector and that its public services and commercial subsidiaries do not have an unfair advantage over news media companies and their developing range of content and initiatives.

“The agreement between the News Media Association and the BBC on a series of initiatives to enhance local journalism was announced in a joint letter to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale last week. The Government welcomed the proposals which we believe will allow the BBC to benefit from local media’s first class local journalism while providing an appropriate framework for use of this content.

“The NMA will be sitting down with the BBC to finalise the details of these partnership initiatives and how they should be implemented.” 

The report said the “BBC cannot look to be all things to all people online.” It continued:  “The BBC must also be clear about what it will not do online. It cannot be all things to all people. The internet is a vital marketplace for products and services, businesses and organisations that the BBC cannot hope to – nor seek to – compete with.

“To do this, the BBC’s services must be clearly distinguishable from the market. We will not ape the competition. We will continue to offer and improve services where the public value exceeds the market impact. Where we do not add to the market – in areas such as travel apps, for example – we should withdraw.

“In areas such as news and entertainment, education and sport, arts and sciences – where the public expects the BBC to provide its services online – we should operate in ways that grow the market itself.”