Your tax dollar in action…

The Ofcom PSP seminar crowd, stage leftThe Ofcom PSP seminar crowd, stage right
I’ve been meaning to blog this for ages but I just haven’t been able to form the words in my head. Why? Anyway, I’ve been helping a sort of loose consortium, led by legendary geek hate figure David Docherty (don’t worry, he didn’t do it), who used to be fabulously important at the BBC and then at Telewest but whose timing could have been a bit better (like leaving the Beeb just as the crash started). David brought together top media folks from Accenture and BT and from old-fashioned TV production… and me… to brainstorm a response to Ofcom’s absolutely fascinating mock tender document for a new ?300M per year ‘Public Service Publisher’ (which came out of the regulator’s recent Review of Public Service Broadcasting). Lots of people have heaped praise on Ofcom for this very left-field response to the challenges of post-analogue switch-off public service media. I think it’s a very clever and very appropriate response too.

So the mock tender process saw us presenting with two other consortia to an overheated roomful of the biggest names in media (mostly TV). The idea is to gather ideas before a real tender process can start next year. I’m pleased to say that ours was the clear winner on the day (Adam Singer, chair of the X-Factor-style judging panel, actually came over and told us: “Game over. You won”). To be fair, the other two tenders were also fascinating: one was from a consortium of museums and the other a much more conventional TV-led group, including Fremantle Media and Vodafone (they probably won’t want to claim claim credit for the absolutely horrible word: ‘mobisode‘, used liberally in their presentation).

Our presentation went under the name ‘Six’, which is, I think, David’s in-joke about how this ‘channel’ will be positioned in relation to the other public service broadcasters. The exciting things about the proposal, from my point of view, are: that it makes no assumption about the primary channel (the net will be at least as important as TV, radio etc.), that it suggests an ‘open source’ approach to commissioned content (it’ll be a Creative Commons platform from day one) and that it’s utterly bottom-up (we envisage a very light-weight commissioning process that’s hyper-automated and that could actually be reduced to a set of APIs – how cool is that?).

Anyway, here’s the presentation, in horrible Powerpoint form (I’ll see if I can convert it to HTML later). We’d be fascinated to get your feedback on this.

Owen Gibson wrote the seminar up for The Guardian and I put some pics on

Categorized as Ofcom


  1. I think it is a brilliantly constructed and rather cute approach to what will eventually become the inevitable and ideally one would hope, the norm. What we need is a definitive framework – one which is easily understood, easy to place and easy to use. Hopefully ‘Six’ (I love that by the way – VERY clever and quite appropriate if people are going to take this seriously) can set the precedent. It appears that they are miles ahead even at this embryonic stage. I have to say I rattled through the powerpoint presentation but working in the media business myself it was easy to get the overall gist. In general, people seem a bit panicked by the idea of the big ‘switch’ but something like Six is needed if we are going to progress. The cross-platform potential is huge and very exciting. I have been battling with one particular commission myself over the last year which would be perfect for this sort of thing. Good luck – can’t wait.

  2. Yeah, no, did I not hear you on the radio tonight? Actually, Caroline suddenly said ‘it’s Steve Bowbrick’, but I never quite got up to speed with what was being said, yeah, no, no what I mean? Nice to listen to you, anyhow.

  3. Greetings, Friends!

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