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July 2018

Multi-Platform Strategy of the BBC as a Public Service Media

Takanobu Tanaka

This paper reports how the BBC is developing its multi-platform strategy as a public service media in the age of convergence of broadcasting and telecommunications by presenting its current status, challenges, and specific strategy based on field research and interviews with persons in charge that the author conducted in February 2018. Broadcasters are placing more emphasis on providing news and other content on the internet and social media in addition to conventional platforms such as television and radio. In the United States, it is not rare to see major broadcasters utilize more than 20 platforms. In the United Kingdom, the BBC also provides services via the internet and social media platforms. In terms of news, BBC News launched the “Future of News” project in 2014, and the Mobile and Online department, which was established as part of the initiative, promotes the multi-platform utilization. The BBC takes different approaches for different platforms such as Facebook and Twitter according to the results of users surveys and has a great number of followers from all over the world. However, compared to the U.S. major commercial broadcasters, the BBC’s platform usage is limited. Knowing the importance of utilizing diverse platforms, the BBC takes cautious steps by examining costs and effects. Its strategic goal is not merely “improving reach” but “to provide everyone with necessary information” to fulfill its public mission. Meanwhile, in regards to programming, its channel for the youth BBC Three terminated broadcasts two years ago to become exclusively online and keeps producing ambitious programs. Although BBC Three’s going only-online is regarded as a success, some mentioned decreasing viewing time as a challenge facing the channel.

The NHK Monthly Report on Broadcast Research


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