Howard Stringer says BBC should prioritise mobile over broadcast

BBC executive board member Howard Stringer has called on the corporation to make content first for mobile and to appeal to social audiences, in order to hit its internal target of doubling its global reach by 2022.

In a report titled ‘2022: Towards 500 Million,’ Stringer, who was formerly chairman and CEO of Sony, said that with the BBC and BBC News in particular should interact more with audiences on social sites and establish an international opinion forum.

Other ‘action points’ listed for reaching an audience of 500 million people include: providing more video and re-versioning it across as many languages as possible; partnering with another national or international broadcaster for deeper newsgathering collaboration; and looking for joint venture TV opportunities in mature markets.

“The combination of the growth in mobile broadband and the growth in the young, aspiring global middle class dictates that the BBC must focus on serving the needs of that audience in whichever market it is operating in,” said Stringer.

“Fundamentally, the BBC has to shift its focus from putting traditional broadcasting first to putting mobile first. By 2022, the BBC should be mobile first in every market outside the UK.”

In the report, which was commissioned by BBC Director of News and Current Affairs, James Harding, Stringer also suggested that the BBC look for opportunities “to exploit successful BBC programme brands including The One Show and Countryfile.”

Elsewhere, Stringer said that the BBC should examine the case for a multi-genre free to air channel in Africa.

He also said the BBC should consider opportunities to open “at least one new language service for an audience facing a severe deficit in free and impartial news” – suggesting Ethiopia and North Korea as potential options.

Responding to the report, Liliane Landor, acting director of BBC World Service Group, said: “We welcome Sir Howard Stringer’s report – it is stimulating and ambitious, and asks refreshing, sometimes provocative, questions of the BBC.”