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Parents. 2005, August

1. What are the typical fallacies that future mums fashion?

2. Comment on the choice of words in the given article.

3. What is the principle underlying the structure of the article?

Ex. 2. Discussion. Express your opinion about the following. Do you agree that this topic can be of interest for women only?

Ex. 3. Follow-up. What gender stereotypes are reflected in the text? Analyse the linguistic features of women’s talk.

Task 5. The Wisdom of Promoting Diversity

Ex. 1. Identifying aspects of communication. Read the following newspaper article and get ready to dwell on the main elements of the communicative episode under consideration.

The Wisdom of Promoting Diversity

Thirty years after the introduction of the Sex Discrimination Act, the Equal Opportunities Commission wants new laws to close the gender gap. Its annual survey of women in senior management has found the number in oppositions is continuing to rise. But the EOC says parity with males will be decades away without further legislation.

Among the FTSE 100 companies, just 10.5 percent of directors – non-executive and executive – are women. This is up from 8.6 percent two years ago, an annual increase of 1 percentage point. At that pace, it would take 40 years to achieve gender equality on the boards of Britain's largest listed companies.

Yet these figures should not be used to justify costly regulation to force companies to appoint more women directors. Setting any sort of target would ignore individual company circumstances. It would also lead to token appointments that could damage the interests of employees and shareholders – male and female alike.

Nor is it clear that measures against gender discrimination would produce equal numbers of male and female directors. Much more could be done to help staff combine careers and parenting, as many successful businesses have shown. But it would take radical changes in child-rearing practices to put men and women on a completely equal footing in the jobs market.

That said, there is a shocking lack of diversity in the boardroom. Research commissioned by the Financial Times recently showed that the typical non-executive director is a 58-year-old white male with a background in finance. Such individuals are – of course – estimable but boards need a much wider pool of knowledge and experience.

This is not just “motherhood and apple pie”. As James Surowiecki pointed out in The Wisdom of Crowds, homogeneous groups are great at doing what they do well but become progressively less able to investigate alternatives. Bringing in new blood – even if less experienced – makes the group smarter.

A study of large US companies found boards with women directors were better than all-male boards at influencing management. They are also better at recruiting and retaining women employees – a competitive advantage in the war for talent.

Defenders of the status quo rightly say there is a shortage of women with board experience in big companies. And boards overwhelmingly seek specific sector or industry knowledge in recruiting non-executive directors.

Yet as Laura Tyson, dean of London Business School, pointed out in a government-sponsored report in 2003, there is a growing number of talented candidates in the “marzipan layer” just below board level, in smaller companies and in business services firms. Companies that tap into this wider gene pool are likely to be rewarded with superior performance.

The Financial Times. 2006, January 6

1. What can you say about the general tone of the article?

2. Was it written by a man or a woman? What helped you guess?

3. Dwell on the role of figurative language and abstractions in the text under consideration.

Ex. 2. Discussion. Express your opinion about the following. Can you say that the article is characterized by immediacy?

Ex. 3. Follow-up. Analyse the text according to the discourse type parameters. What gender stereotypes are reflected in it?

Ex 4. Problem-solving. According to an article in the Daily Mail, there are some things you will never hear women say, such as: Would you please stop sending me flowers? It’s embarrassing. I’ve just killed that enormous spider in the bath. And there are some things you can never hear from a man, for example: Hi, Mum, I just rang for a chat. Where’s the toilet cleaner? Read the following statements. Which category do you think the Daily Mail put them in? Add at least five more examples from your own experience and ask your groupmates to classify them accordingly.

1. Of course I’d love to have dinner with your sister. The only thing on telly tonight is football.

2. Shall I check the tyre pressures when I go to the petrol station?

3. Let’s switch off the TV, I want to talk about our relationship.

4. Thanks so much for ironing my shirt.

5. Don’t worry I’ll clean that up.

6. Do you think my bottom looks fat in these trousers?

7. I saw this gorgeous suit in that shop in town. The jacket’s a great shape and it wasn’t expensive.

8. You drive, darling, you’re so much better than me.

9. Look, I’m sick of talking about our relationship, OK?

10. But I just don’t need another pair of shoes.

11. Let’s ask that woman for directions.

12. Hi, Mum, I just rang for a chat.

13. I’ve just killed that enormous spider in the bath.

14. Let’s ask that woman for directions.

Task 6. Public Service Media in the Digital Age

Ex. 1. Identifying aspects of communication. Read the speech “Public Service Media in the Digital Age” and get ready to dwell on the main elements of the communicative episode under consideration.

Public Service Media in the Digital Age

Speech by Sir Michael Lyons,

Chairman of the BBC Trust, to EU conference in Strasbourg

July 17, 2008

Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to speak to you.

I was struck by something that Commissioner Kroes said in Cologne last month. She was speaking about the central role that the media now plays in society, and she said this:

“Media is more than a multi-billion euro business. It is also at the heart of democracy and cultural diversity.”

That theme of the media at the very heart of democracy is something I’d like to take up in my remarks today. It underlines the importance of what’s being discussed here today – and it underlines the need for great care in fashioning the right regulatory regime.

The media industries in general, and broadcasting in particular, are going through an extraordinary period of change. The EU regulatory framework has served audiences well. But this is a timely moment to ask whether it remains appropriate for the new world of digital convergence and on-demand services into which we are moving at such speed.

In this debate I can speak only on behalf of the BBC and its audiences. But understanding the BBC’s own experience during this period of great change may be of value as this important debate unfolds.

My starting point is this: the BBC is more than simply a broadcaster.

It is expected to fulfill public purposes that go well beyond the provision of high quality television and radio programmes and online content.

These public purposes are set out in some detail in the new BBC Charter – in effect its constitution – which was put in place 18 months ago.

The public purposes range from sustaining citizenship and civil society, through promoting education and learning and stimulating creativity and cultural excellence, to representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities, and bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK. The BBC is also tasked with delivering to audiences the benefits of emerging communications, technologies and services.

This brings me to my second point: It is clear that the BBC can only deliver these high public purposes if it remains independent.

The public purpose of “sustaining citizenship”, for example, implies the provision of high quality impartial coverage of news and current affairs. This is the essential fuel of an informed democracy. And impartiality in news provision cannot be sustained without full editorial independence.

The independence of the BBC is guaranteed by the Charter – and that it includes independence from government.

Of course government has a role – but that role is closely defined. It is to set the Charter – there is a new Charter every 10 years or so – and to set the formula that defines the license fee for the Charter period.

But beyond that, oversight of the BBC is carried out not by government, or by Parliament, but by the BBC Trust. One of the key roles of the Trust is to defend the independence of the BBC from undue pressure from any quarter.

Let me say a little more about the Trust.

As you know it was created by the new Charter as the replacement for the Governors, who, for 80 years, had directed the work of the BBC.

The Governors played an important role. But that system of governance came to be challenged as the media sector became more complex. It was a structure which, rightly or wrongly, created an impression that the interests of the BBC Governors were too closely aligned with those of the BBC managers whose work they directed.

There were questions over whether this structure was capable of ensuring value for money, or of fully guaranteeing the impartiality of BBC news coverage. But there were two issues in particular that created the desire to modernise its constitution.

The first was that the BBC had to become more responsive to the changing needs of all its different audiences. And the second was that it had to become more responsive to the legitimate concerns of other investors in the UK media sector.

This was the context in which the BBC Trust was created.

Although we are part of the BBC, as Trustees we are entirely separate from the Executive that manages its day to day operations. Our role is to represent the interests of those who have invested in the BBC and pay for its services through the license fee. I mean, of course, the British public. The BBC Trust exists to ensure that the BBC is run in their interests not those of the managers or programme-makers.

We see a key part of our role as setting stretching challenges for the Executive on behalf of audiences, as well as providing rigorous examination of the proposals that the Executive put forward.

This process of robust challenge and scrutiny on behalf of the audience is a public manifestation of our independence from the Executive and helps to build public trust in our judgements.

We now have 18 months of experience of the new structure. How is it working in practice? Let me give you an example.

One of the first pieces of research we commissioned as Trustees sought to identify the public’s priorities and the areas where they felt the BBC was falling short. Amongst the findings, one thing we learned was that some audiences feel the BBC serves them less well than others. This is in part a demographic issue – but most striking was the geographical element of this. In short, audiences tend to feel less warmly about the BBC the farther away they live from London. This seems to reflect a widespread view – expressed frequently to me by members of the public – that too much BBC decision-making is based in London, and that BBC programming gives too much weight to a metropolitan way of thinking.

As Trustees we have responded decisively to this very clear message. We have challenged the BBC Executive to do much more to ensure the BBC responds appropriately to the needs of all audiences in the UK.

We have supported plans to move very significant amounts of production and control of airtime out of London. Our aim is that by the end of the Charter period in 2016 around 50 percent of BBC production should take place outside London.

We have also prompted the Executive to make significant changes in BBC journalism to ensure that our news gives a truer and more accurate picture of life throughout the UK, and fully reflects the fact that powers have been devolved from Westminster to new legislative bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Taken together, these changes are taking the BBC in a new direction – a direction set by its audiences, and mediated by the Trust as the representative of those audiences.

A similar journey has begun in regard to the relationship between the BBC and other organisations active in the UK media market.

This relationship is never going to be a completely easy one.

There will always be areas of direct competition between what the BBC provides and what the market supplies. Convergence and market changes are bringing new areas of competition as both public and private providers seek to make the most of the opportunities created by the digital revolution.

On this general issue, our fundamental position as Trustees representing the interest of audiences is this: audiences clearly like wide choice in their media diet and deserve to get the benefits of competition and innovation, so the BBC must not use its market power in a way that restricts audience choice.

And we have the power to ensure this happens. The power to approve new BBC services used to lie with government. But under the new Charter it rests with us. This is a significant strengthening of the independence of the BBC.

The process of approval involves a Public Value Test. This is one of the most significant innovations introduced by the Trust.

It is an open and transparent process that allows all interested parties – including commercial interests – to make their case before we take our decision on whether or not to approve a proposed launch.

The Public Value Test exemplifies the Trust approach of taking decisions based on strong evidence, after careful and open consultation with all interested parties, and with a clear commitment to publish not just our conclusions but also our detailed reasoning so that the whole process is itself open to scrutiny.

The Public Value Test, or PVT, has two parts. There is a public value assessment and there is a market impact assessment. The public value assessment weighs the potential citizen value of the new service, and whether it is a good use of scarce BBC resources. The market impact assessment – carried out by the industry regulator, Ofcom – examines the potential impact on others in the market.

Only if there is objective evidence to support a judgement that the public value created by a proposed new service is greater than its potential negative impact do we give permission to launch a new service. The final decision rests with the Trust.

We applied a Public Value Test before we agreed to the launch of the BBCiPlayer, the successful service that allows audiences to catch up via the internet with BBC programmes they may have missed on transmission – that PVT process resulted in significant changes to the original proposal.

And we are currently carrying out a PVT on proposals to launch a new BBC internet service, called Local Video. This proposal from the Executive was developed following a challenge from the Trust to respond to audience demands for improved local services. The Executive’s proposal is for a broadband service offering video coverage of local news and events in 60 areas of the UK.

Preparations for our Public Value Test have already produced strong views for and against. In favour are those who want to see a more local and more responsive BBC. But there is opposition from those with interests in commercial local media who fear the potential impact of the proposed new BBC service on their businesses.

Our job is to assemble all the evidence and then reach an objective judgement on the facts.

We’ve been using the PVT process now for about 18 months and it is proving robust in practice. We also have new arrangements in place to deal with fair trading complaints. Although not yet extensively called into use, they too are proving effective.

However, we believe the relationship between the BBC and the commercial sector should be based on more than just rules and regulations. We want to see a more openly collaborative relationship between the two.

We believe strongly that audience interests are best served by the BBC using its scale and public investment on behalf of the UK media sector as a whole, emphasising co-operation as well as competition, and we have challenged the Executive to find ways to do this.

The BBC already has a good record of working productively with other UK broadcasters on big technology projects that benefit all audiences. Recent examples include Freeview, the leading digital platform in the UK, and Freesat, which offers guaranteed subscription free satellite television, including high-definition channels.

But we want to see more, and the Executive is now actively exploring new ways to bring the benefits of the BBC’s strength and skills to the whole sector and we expect to see detailed proposals before the end of the year.

The BBC already makes a significant contribution to the economic health of the UK and in particular to the UK’s vibrant creative sector with its strong export performance.

The Trust recently commissioned an independent study of the economic impact of the BBC in order to give us a reliable baseline for our economic decisions.

The main headline from the report which we have published today in the UK is this: the overall economic impact of the BBC is positive. The creative industries in the UK would be worse off by at least £5 billion, or 7 billion Euros each year, if the BBC did not exist. The benefits the BBC brings to the sector include a stable stream of investment regardless of the economic climate, training programmes that benefit the industry as a whole, and a strong record in developing new technology and platforms that help the whole sector to grow.

Of course I wouldn’t want to suggest that everything the BBC does is positive. The report also highlights areas where the BBC needs to pay particular care to the scale of its impact on commercial markets. These insights are particularly useful for the Trust when we consider major investments and when we carry out full-scale service reviews. Importantly, this information also provides guidance on where the BBC can do more to generate positive outcomes. The BBC is a deliberate intervention in the market, but if we can minimise any negative effects, the economic value it creates can be increased still further.

As you can see from my brief summary, the BBC’s contribution to the economic and creative health of the UK is considerable and can be strengthened by strong governance and self regulation which protects its vital independence.

The message is an important one: successful and accountable public service broadcasters bring positive benefits to the overall creative economy – and this can apply not just to the UK, but to Europe as a whole.

To sum up: let me draw some conclusions from this brief history of recent developments in the life of the BBC.

What the BBC Trust is trying to bring about is a BBC that is responsive to the needs of all its audiences, and is also a good corporate neighbour to other players in the UK media sector.

I think the evidence shows that we are beginning to make this happen.

The interests of audiences are being actively promoted, and, in the Public Value Test, we have a mechanism for considering expected public gain alongside any possible adverse market impacts.

Meanwhile, the BBC remains robustly independent and well able to resist undue political and commercial pressure. And this independence allows it to deliver its public purposes with maximum effectiveness.

As I said at the start, I speak only for the BBC and its audiences in this debate.

I do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach, and I am not arguing that the BBC model would necessarily work for other countries. But I do believe it is working well for the UK.

It is right to review the existing EU regulatory regime. But I hope no-one will forget that that the current regime has proved remarkably benign. The very significant constitutional changes that the BBC has been through in recent years have all been achieved within the existing rules.

In considering how best to ensure that the media and communications industries continue to play a productive role at the heart of democracy in the EU, it is important that we avoid over regulation and changes which I hope that nothing will be done that might damage the success of the current system in enabling positive and constructive change.

I hope that this brief history of the BBC as it reshapes itself to respond to the challenges of convergence and on-demand will be of some value to you in your deliberations today.


1. How does the speaker define the theme of the speech?

2. Analyse the linking means the speaker uses.

3. How does the speaker identify his role in the communicative episode under consideration?

Ex. 2. Discussion. Express your opinion about the following. Compare the introduction and the ending of the speech and decide which sounds more persuasive and why. How would you characterize this principle of arranging the speech?

Ex. 3. Follow-up. Analyse the speech from the point of view of the process of encoding. Dwell on the problems of language and the communicative context. Which type of discourse does this text represent? What are the means leading to the pragmatic effect?

Task 7. Big is Beautiful

Ex. 1. Identifying aspects of communication. Read the following speech and get ready to dwell on the main elements of the communicative episode under consideration.

Big is Beautiful

Speech given at the Banff World Television Festival 2008

by J. Bennett, Director, BBC Vision

June 9, 2008

I am delighted to be here once again in Banff – the spiritual and creative home of global television.

It’s the second interesting experience I’ve had in North America recently.

Two weeks ago I was in LA for the screenings – and I was simply staggered to see the amazing flow of creative ideas coming across from Britain. Hit after hit had been picked up, and the BBC was leading the pack on a scale bigger than ever before in our history.

I wasn’t the only one to notice – the New York Times wrote a piece on upfront week citing the prominence of BBC shows like Dancing With The Stars, The Office, Worst Week and Life On Mars.

The Times’ analysis had a somewhat downbeat tone – emphasising the creative drought stateside in the wake of the writers’ strike and cost-cutting in response to the credit crunch.

But I don’t believe those are the main reasons for the BBC’s success. Another report came out while I was in LA pointing out the incredible fact that the networks in the States have lost six million viewers over the last year. Six million viewers had disappeared.

 But where did they go? Well, observers say the writers’ strike had an impact – accelerating the flight to cable. But much more significantly they point to a sharp increase in timeshifting via PVR.

 Now, in the UK we have a lower penetration of PVR than the States – and timeshifting is about a third of US levels. But we’ve seen no significant drop in viewing to mainstream channels over the last year and the overall peaktime average is identical – standing at about 20 million.

 Of course, we might catch up in time and patterns of viewing will almost certainly change, but I think there are more profound differences in our TV offerings.

 In fact, I believe the BBC’s continued and growing success lies in the range, depth and diversity at its creative heart, its ability to build loyalty in its audience and its mandate for creative risk – and, as a result, its consistent delivery of hits in drama, in comedy, in factual and in entertainment formats.

 And that’s what I want to talk about today – big TV. The TV hit, how we at the BBC make them and how the hit not only survives, but thrives in the interplay between programmes, platforms and audiences on offer in our brave new world.

 And what do I mean by a hit?

 <…> Those programmes are all hits, but they fall into two broad categories: the mainstream one, requiring multiple millions of viewers – programmes like Planet Earth, Top Gear, Doctor Who, Cranford, I’d Do Anything, The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, The Apprentice, Life On Mars, Strictly Come Dancing and Wild China – programmes designed to be hits, programmes brilliant both in their ambition and execution.

 And then there’s the smaller niche hit – not necessarily delivering such huge numbers but commanding high appreciation – for us. Shows like Gavin And Stacey, In The Night Garden, The Mighty Boosh, Charlie And Lola or Bloody Omaha – a hit in its own terms, sometimes a cult hit – or for a particular audience, on a particular channel, perhaps redefining a particular genre.

Both kinds have these things in common – the need to truly connect with an audience, to capture the atmospherics of the moment and to generate buzz. Audiences must love a hit. Critics don’t have to like it – they all have to want to talk about it.

<…> Because the BBC is built to ensure every element works as hard as possible to deliver creative potential across our channels, genre commissioning and production base.

First, the channels. We have eight in all in the UK portfolio: two from BBC News, two children’s channels and four mixed genre.

That portfolio of channels allows us to reinforce audience loyalty and keeps people watching within the BBC family. But the portfolio is also critical to our ability to take creative risks.

The interplay between the digital channels BBC Three and BBC Four and the terrestrials, BBC One and Two, allows us to grow talent and hits – letting a show find its audience.

The portfolio underpins the ability of channel controllers and genre commissioners to exercise editorial courage, allowing them to stay with a programme into a second series even if it hasn’t done “the numbers” first time round – in fact, not necessarily expecting it to.

 <…> But the BBC does not make hits to formula. Recently, I was intrigued to see Jeff Zucker of NBC reflecting on the impact of the writers’ strike. He held up the British approach to development as a counterpoint to the US system of pilots.

 He was right. We don’t spend millions on pilots no-one ever sees, but we do pilot – we just do it on air.

When we revamped BBC Three, our channel for younger audiences, we transmitted six stand-alone dramas. We didn’t announce it but they were all, in fact, pilots. And we planned for, and scheduled for and budgeted for, just one of them to be developed into a series.

We didn’t ask the audience to comment, but not long after transmission all six of them had their own Facebook groups – not created by us – with fans clamouring for their favourite to be the one.

 They campaigned for each across the web including via the BBC’s YouTube channel, and a petition in favour of Being Human quickly gathered over 3,500 signatures on the website petition online.

 Being Human, the tale of three flatmates who just happen to be a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost, is, in fact, the one we’re making into a series – but the online uproar is only part of the reason.

 Everything about the programme told us that it touched a nerve, connecting with a 20-something audience who often feel themselves to be outsiders. But it will go into production with a pre-established and expectant fanbase online, a year or so before it appears on air, and we’re now in the unusual position of having a hit of sorts and fans for a series that has not yet been made – and wondering how we sustain them.

 This kind of intense democratic relationship with its audience is something completely new for a television channel – and can only be delivered by the web.

 The web can really build buzz about something new, and it can make something potentially small much bigger. It is the ultimate watercooler.

 <…>  Traditionally, pretty much everything the audience sees before a programme goes to air is marketing. And this is often true on new platforms, too. The phenomenon of seeding shortform video around the web for upcoming dramas and comedies, for example, is becoming fairly well established.

 But we are currently in the middle of another experiment with online video before broadcast.

 Amazon will be the latest offering from intrepid explorer Bruce Parry when it airs next year. The series will tell of the epic journey from the Amazon’s source in the High Andes through the places and peoples found along the course of the greatest river on Earth. You get a sense of the passion and urgency Bruce Parry feels for this trip when he says that ‘the Amazon’ is a metaphor for ‘the world’.

 But, for the audience, the Amazon experience started on the web a long time before TX and I mean a really, really long time – it started when filming began, almost a full year before the show will air.

The web lets the audience take the journey vicariously alongside the crew – with regular posts in text and video on the highs and the lows – and difficult decisions.

Like this moment captured on mobile when Chris, the team doctor, has been asked to take a look at a desperately weak child in a village the crew are travelling through.

The viewers bore witness to these lives on the web – and the programme itself will be the culmination of a year of shared experience.

We tried something similar with the show Long Way Down last year, following Ewan MacGregor and Charlie Boorman from the northern tip of Scotland to the southern most point of Africa. When that show aired, 52 percent of viewers had watched online content pre-TX, 28 percent said they first heard about it online, and three quarters said they’d told others about it after seeing the online content.

Of course, there were fears that access to this much content ahead of time would detract from the broadcast show. In fact, the programme drew 3.9 million – that’s double the average audience for the slot.

Now, all that online activity clearly helped to grow a hit, proving the web can make a hit bigger, but it’s certainly not marketing – not as we know it – it’s the creation of a new format, a new form of cross-platform story telling.

And the ability of the web to connect with an audience before transmission, between transmissions and between series, is becoming of fundamental importance to returning hits.

<…> What is striking about all these examples is the ongoing power of television to galvanise an audience. We are witnessing the changing life cycle of a hit and a changing relationship with its fans. Suddenly, we find the audience can want to be involved much earlier on, to be let in on the commissioning decisions – even the production – the parts that we thought were private, were ours alone and not for public consumption. The audience wants the show to continue to have a rich, active and developing life far beyond transmission.

Extending the window of time in which a programme is available to allow it time to engage an audience has been a commonplace of scheduling on smaller digital channels for years via a pattern of multiple repeats.

But for the BBC, in one sense, the life expectancy of our programmes has just increased significantly with the advent of iPlayer.

This delivers 400 hours of BBC catchup TV, refreshed weekly. Just to be clear, that will add up to almost 21,000 hours of TV over a year.

Since public launch on 25 December it has been a huge success, with around 90 million requests to stream and download programmes – and it’s continuing to grow. We expect shortly to see it break through the barrier of one million requests in a day.

So, what cuts through in on demand? Well, comedy, drama and factual are all reflected strongly, and shows for younger audiences, but across all of these it’s the TV hits.

The top 1,000 programmes so far on iPlayer are those recording a high average talkability rating of 54 in their linear slots. The top 100 iPlayer shows have an average talkability rating of 66 and the top 10 have an Appreciation Index on linear of over 80. Fifty percent of all requests to view are for programmes in that top 10.

The news is that quality TV works cross-platform – on schedule and on demand. Nothing so far has bucked that trend.

 But we are seeing some interesting patterns emerge. On average a programme will deliver iPlayer requests representing around 2 percent of its linear first transmission audience.

 But a select few shows have got a much higher percentage. And the top three of these are all related to niche hits – programmes with cult followings: The Mighty Boosh documentary got requests in iPlayer representing 30 percent of its first transmission audience, and two of the drama pilots I mentioned earlier, Being Human and Phoo Action, got 20 percent and 13 percent respectively.

 Those are all shows that attract younger audiences, but they are also peak time shows on a digital channel – shows that might get missed because they’re scheduled up against big hitters on BBC One and BBC Two, or the terrestrial competition.

 iPlayer seems to encourage planned, intelligent viewing around the portfolio. And indications are that iPlayer is additive – all of these shows performed in line with expectations at broadcast.

 We know that iPlayer is capable of transforming the way in which people in the UK watch TV. It is adding to the existing means of timeshifting – narrative repeats and the still dominant PVR – all multiplying the opportunities to view, making the unmissable, unmissable.

 But although it’s a radical shift in our audience offer, catch-up services like iPlayer are still only an extension of that moment in time that is the transmission window.

 In fact, for the BBC, the moment of broadcast combined with iPlayer catchup is the new transmission window. And that’s why our approach is always to acquire rights inclusive of catchup.

 But iPlayer is only the beginning of the story. Because when that iPlayer moment is over, the programme disappears and we are still having to apologise to the audience. And yet those programmes do still exist and increasingly may be available elsewhere on the web – on iTunes, for example, or in other on-demand offers like Kangaroo, the BBC’s new UK commercial partnership with ITV and C4, which we expect to get regulatory approval for soon.

That fact formed part of the thinking behind this – a permanent page for every episode of every programme the BBC has ever broadcast.

Each page is dependent on the power of programme information – of data – of metadata. Now that may sound dull, but let me tell you the data captured on these pages is going to be critical for us in the ongoing story of hits.

 Because these permanent pages will always direct the audience to the programme – wherever it may be on the web – first in iPlayer, then elsewhere on bbc.co.uk or on iTunes or on any number of other on demand services including Kangaroo.

 Each page and clip will be promotional for that programme in perpetuity. They will offer the possibility of hits that go on and on, or are re-discovered when the time is right.

 There are already over 160,000 individual pages. Eventually, we will add our programme back catalogue to produce pages for programming stretching back over nearly 80 years – featuring all the information we have on the richest TV and radio archive in the world.

 The BBC is committed to releasing the public value in that archive and these pages are going to play a central role in allowing us to do that.

 The controlled moments of transmission that television has permitted in the past, and the elaborate systems of temporal windows we have established after them, will in the not too far distant future seem like a period of technological aberration. A time when TV acted as if it were theatre – a genuinely momentary medium – when TV is not.

 As I’ve said, if you are having to apologise to your audience because the content is no longer available, you know you have a problem. In time, someone else is going to see that as a missed opportunity.

 <…> People want to participate globally – and, in part, that’s why this autumn, when NBC launches Heroes series three in the States, it will be aired simultaneously by the BBC in the UK.

The web is, of course, a global medium and increasingly its users are knocking at the doors of the structures television has established for territorial exploitation.

What I’m describing is the logic of the world wide web. Now there’s obviously a commercial dimension to this. It isn’t going to change our horizons in the near future – but over time, it will change the lay of the land and almost certainly lead to internal realignments in our industry.

 Earlier, I talked about the importance of data. In television, I think we are still in the early days of recognising its potential.

 Take a look at this. This is Google Trends. It allows you to see the search patterns for a particular keyword over time and within given territories. This is the global picture for the word Pompeii. You’ll see a couple of peaks. And a noticeable leap on 12 May. From searches in the UK alone the spike is even more pronounced.

 Just imagine if we could predict that level of interest – how we could provide programming to serve it. Create new programming or release the value in a treasure trove of existing content to satisfy a clear need.

Now you’ll see that Google knows what caused two of the earlier peaks: first, Roman Polanski’s exit from the film Pompeii, and then new archaeological finds. Google does not know what piqued the audience interest on 12 May. But we do.

 Television – big television, great television – has an almost unrivalled power to energise an audience. The broadcast of a single programme is capable of distorting the search patterns of the world. The broadcast will continue to be a moment of maximum impact, allowing us to lob a hand grenade or toss a bouquet into the public consciousness and conversation.

 As a result, our television channels will continue to be of vital importance – so much so that the BBC now plans to simulcast all its television channels online in the UK, culminating with BBC One later this year.

 But the multiplatform landscape also offers us new ways of understanding audience desires – of generating buzz, building a hit, connecting with and engaging an audience.


It offers new means of distribution that are already changing the temporal boundaries and increasingly challenging the geographical boundaries that have historically contained and constrained the potential of a hit.

 But none of these things will make a programme great. At the core of big TV has to be big ideas – with big ambition and a big heart. And they will always carry with them risk.

 In the light of difficult economic circumstances and a complex and shifting landscape our industry could retreat from creative risk – avoiding awkward genres like new comedy or factual programming, testing the hell out of new drama ideas before putting them to an audience, buying in the known, developing to a formula.

 It is, in such circumstances, that a public service BBC with secure funding designed to foster creativity and deliver cultural value in all genres for all audiences makes more sense than at any time in its history.

 For the BBC, the TV hit matters – not for the simple commercial drivers of drawing eyeballs and planting bums on seats, nor for the opportunity to bathe in the reflected glory of a truly scintillating smash, not even so we can sell the show or the format to the rest of the world.

 For the BBC, the TV hit matters because we are charged with connecting with as wide an audience as possible, with bringing people together in moments of shared experience – to entertain, inform and educate – to promote understanding, to contribute to the national and international conversation, and always to create fresh and distinctive experiences – surprise and delight across all our platforms.

 Because the TV hit is more than merely an industry success story. It forms part of a battle against the forces of division and fragmentation within our countries and in our world.

 Bigness is necessary for collective experience. That’s why Big TV is Beautiful. The world needs it.


1. Pay attention to the syntactic means used by the speaker. What functions do they perform?

2. What is the role of abstractions, figurative and immediate language in the text under consideration?

3. What means are used by the speaker to highlight the most important ideas?

Ex. 2. Discussion. Express your opinion about the following. What has a greater potential as a communicative channel – the web or the television?

Ex. 3. Follow-up. Analyse the text from the point of view of the process of encoding. Speak about the communicative context. Which type of discourse does this text represent? What are the main means leading to the pragmatic effect?

Task 8. HIV/AIDS: Universal Action Now

Ex. 1. Identifying aspects of communication. Read the following speech and get ready to dwell on the main elements of the communicative episode under consideration.

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