3Rs to be the framework for "world's newsroom" success says BBC Global News

Joseph O'Halloran | 18-01-2013

Reach, revenue and reputation will be the key to success, and even the internal key performance indicators, for BBC Global News as it battles to be the world’s leading impartial source of news.

Showing off its new operations hub at the recently developed BBC Broadcasting House in the centre of London, which BBC Global News controller Richard Porter called “a game changer”, the channel will set out to be known as "the world's newsroom", standing out from its multiple rivals such as France 24 and Russia Today in the way that it exists only for the audience and not for commercial owners nor for a state. Even with multiplicity of news sources “there is a gap for trusted international news that is impartial and global,” he asserted.

The international 24-hour news and information channel is available in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide and will take advantage of as heavy investment in additional global news-gathering capacity as well as the state of the state of the art technologies in use at the base. Yet despite new studios, new programming and new presenters—including new current affairs correspondent Yalda Hakim and veteran presenter and reporter Jon Sopel—Porter was insistent that the channel’s mission is consistent with the founding motto of the BBC that “nation shall speak peace unto nation”. In fact Porter insisted that this motto was “not outdated [yet] we will be deliberately bold and ambitious.”

And hopefully profitable, added COO Jim Egan, commenting on the three Rs on which the channel will be judged, and for which he said reputation especially for impartiality would be most important. This he said justified BBC Global News having “best of class news provision.” Despite BBC Global News being a commercially funded public news service, Egan did not see “any tension between funding and high quality [journalism]. We don't exist to make money.”

Egan also revealed that the current income stream was at resent split in more or less in equal proportions between digital advertising, TV advertising and carriage from satellite and cable TV companies. This balance he said would change and pointedly he made reference to growth in the Asia Pacific region where pay-TV has to date been relatively new, and the two recent “breakthroughs” with Comcast and Time Warner to take BBC News to 25 million out of a total of 115 TV households.