BBC Broadcasting House
The new director-general of the BBC George Entwistle today announced plans for a restructure within the next two years, which will mean closer working between the 'audio and music', 'vision' and 'future media' departments, as part of a bid to encourage the creation of "genuinely digital content".

Discussing the future of the broadcaster in his speech to staff today, Entwistle said the three "disciplines" should be integrated "in order to imagine ourselves into the space where a new kind of content is possible".

While he said the BBC's traditional radio and television services "have a great deal of life left in them", he also identified "profound change" which the broadcaster also faces.

This includes the "potential evolution of our distribution arrangements". He said while the success of the iPlayer shows a good digital performance on the part of the BBC, its coverage on digital platforms remains focused on presenting and distributing "existing forms of content to their natural limits", rather than innovating so as to "discover genuinely new forms of content".

He mentioned that "progress" has already been made by other departments, such as news and sport, "in testing the boundaries of our existing content forms".

"As we increasingly make use of a distribution model – the internet – principally characterised by its return path, its capacity for interaction, its hunger for more and more information about the habits and preferences of individual users, then we need to be ready to create content which exploits this new environment – content which shifts the height of our ambition from live output to living output.

"We need to be ready to produce and create genuinely digital content for the first time. And we need to understand better what it will mean to assemble, edit and present such content in a digital setting where social recommendation and other forms of curation will play a much more influential role."

To do this he said some reorganisation will be necessary, and outlined his aim to restructure the BBC "with fundamental implications for A&M [audio and music], vision and future media", within the next two years.

"I promise this won't be a repeat of the bi-media experiment many of us lived through in the 1990s, where people who loved and were good at one thing were asked to do another.

"But it will mean a careful reconstruction of some of the output structures of the BBC. My initial view is that a genre-based approach will give us the right way forward.

"The progress news and sport have made in testing the boundaries of our existing content forms suggest to me that genre structures pool expertise and challenge conventional thinking to the right degree.

"But I don't intend to dictate such a radical change for the organisation as a whole without careful planning and consultation. And I guarantee I will do nothing which puts at risk the radio services and TV channels our audiences love."

The next step will be taken later this year, when Entwistle will head a project "which will make recommendations about what the BBC's future structure should look like", he added.

Entwistle took over from Mark Thompson as director-general of the BBC this month. Thompson is to take up the role of president and chief executive of the New York Times Company.

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