The development of BBC on-demand strategy 2003-2007: the Public Value Test and the iPlayer

Flood Page, Mike (2015) The development of BBC on-demand strategy 2003-2007: the Public Value Test and the iPlayer. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This is a study of strategy development and implementation based upon interviews with senior BBC executives. It explores how and why the BBC became the first major UK broadcaster to pioneer on-demand and to devise a Public Value Test for all new services. It does so through three case studies: a regulatory mechanism, the Public Value Test, and two examples of digital innovation: the iPlayer on-demand service, and the BBC Creative Archive. The research questions are: how and why did the BBC develop and implement an on-demand strategy during its Charter renewal process between 2002 and 2007; what was the process; what factors affected the decision-makers, what issues and dilemmas did they confront; and how effective have they been?
This research investigates how the BBC responded to a two-fold crisis that threatened both the relevance and legitimacy of public service broadcasting. It builds upon an institutionalist perspective to examine how changes in the dynamics of UK broadcasting, in particular growing tensions between the institutional logics of public service and marketisation, affected the Corporation’s incumbent position within its organisational field, and undermined its ability to launch innovative digital services such as the iPlayer, because of difficulties in establishing a clear distinction between what was legitimate public service online and what should be left to commercial competitors to provide. The findings illuminate the complex relationship between organisational legitimacy and institutional culture, and ask why the BBC devised the Public Value Test, first applied to its proposals for the iPlayer and on-demand provision, how successful this was in enabling the BBC to redefine its own remit, and what the consequences were. It finds that BBC strategy development combined elements of rational long-range planning with improvisation and opportunism, and suggests a dysfunctional relationship between its proactive approach to long-term planning and its process of digital innovation. This finding of a culture of innovation at the BBC challenges the argument that attributes “disruptive innovation” to private sector insurgents rather than incumbents, especially those in the public sector.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: BBC, strategy, Public Value, iPlayer, on-demand, institutionalism, multiplatform, Charter review, public service media
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Supervisor's Name: Schlesinger, Professor Philip and Doyle, Professor Gillian
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Mr. Michael Flood Page
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6779
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2015 13:23
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2015 16:22

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