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The BBC - An abbreviation for the British Broadcasting Corporation was founded in 1922 by charter as a public service broadcasting company with the intention of a deliberate intervention in the media industry. This corporation would be available to the public as it is funded by all due to it been independent of government and managed by board of governors with its income being derived from TV licence fee paid by over 20 million homes in the United Kingdom. BBC is among the few large broadcasting corporations in the world that do not advertise but still obtain commercial income through the sale of programme rights and branded products worldwide. The values of the corporation is being driven by these core values- Quality, Creativity, Teamwork, Respect, Trust and its Audience, these values have aided the success of the company around the globe.
This exceptional advantage of public funding puts the BBC in a position of high responsibility by providing high quality services, unique and reliable feedbacks to listeners and retain high principles in the media industry. As at present, BBC is taking the lead role in the switchover of broadcasting to digital television. The BBC targets to provide and promote objectives such as supporting education and learning, bringing the world to the UK and vice versa, and most of all, enabling the public- its viewers, the benefit of emerging communication technologies and services.
As such the objective of this case study is to fully analyse BBC providing a detailed strategic appraisal through industrial overview, growth stages and internal environment analysis, together with a selection of strategic options identifying competencies, competitive rivalry, and opportunities and finally concluding with strategic solutions for the company's continuous and future growth. The information will be principally restricted to the case study highlighted in the reference section.
Key challenges of the BBC
Lack of structural based arrangement and management- under the direction and management of John Brit (pre- 2000) the BBC was structured in a way that the corporation had internal marker - this separated the management responsibilities into different divisions covering three areas of BBC broadcasting: Resources, Programme Production and Programme Broadcasting. Each division had its own headquarters in order words, they were independent of each other, this which place them in a position to trade programmes with each other in an internal market and other broadcasting company outside of the BBC.
In this way a programme producer is able to hire the use of studio and outside equipment, at the same time using external studio and equipment 'they would sell their programmes both internally and to other broadcasters'. This arrangement was made so as to ensure that the potentials of the organisation and the value for money were maximised to the full when compared with other competitors.
According to the survey on various opinions by viewers, the BBC is remote and too metropolitan, its accountability unclear, its programmes too dull or too copycat of formats working perfectly adequately on other channels. People think that the BBC is struggling to be properly in tune with the times and is not in touch with younger people or with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Some commercial competitors feel that the BBC is too free to expand into areas already well served and so stifles new and existing businesses and limits creativity. (Department for culture, media and sport, March 2005; Review of the BBC royal charter: A strong BBC, independent of government).
Building one BBC
A review to the different structural arrangement of the broadcasting company was made under the leadership of Grey Dyke. Grey Dyke managed to change and re-organise the BBC by reviewing its structure and management process, he introduced the term 'One BBC.' He believed that the BBC should be a place where its people worked collaboratively and as well shared a common goal and purpose which is to create great television programmes and an outstanding outline services
Greg Dyke intends to introduce a flatter structure - in this case, the different division. Broadcasting and production headquarters, this were grounded, leaving the 17 directors to report directly to the Director-General rather than to the senior management with the former division. These changes brought BBC programme and channel interest closer to the centre of the BBC. The programme production was replaced with three new programming divisions, Drama, Entertainment and Children, these division were to also report directly to the director- General. Measures were taken to eradicate the internal competitive behaviour within the corporation brought about by the internal market. There would be more collaborative commissioning process, broadcast and programme producers would work more closely in planning their activities.
The BBC organizational structure
In respect to the organizational structure of the BBC, it can be described to consist of the board of governor, the Executive board, the divisional board - (journalism board, commercial and creative boards). The boards that makes up the divisional board all report to the executive board, while executive board which is made up of 9 directors report to the Director-General.
As have been mentioned above, the basic aim of the Greg Dyke's reforms was to cut down cost and form a simpler organisational structure, this will foster better relationship among its member of staff, making the work environment creative, innovative and conducive. This success was bounded by three interdependent core values which are profit sharing, free flow of information and employee participation, it is believed that employee's participation will give workers better control over their work while profit sharing will avail them the sense of ownership and the free flow of information within the corporation as at when needed will enable the workers a better understanding and opportunity to improve their work practice.
Greg Dyke's Goals
According to Dyke, the audience, creativity and programme making were the first major goal of areas targeted for review. These areas were targeted in order to win and retain its audiences in the technological age and also creating vast choices for consumers. His second goal was to raise the proportion of BBC funding that is spent on programmes from 76 percent to 85 percent over time and this meant that there would be reduction of management overhead from 24 percent to 15 percent. Dyke's third goal was to create a culture of collaboration in order for people to work together to make great programmes. The fourth goal was to change the way the organisation works in order for decisions to be quick and influential while retaining sufficient checks and balances to avoid damaging mistakes and this was warranted because of the way the digital world is spawning new entrants who acted determinedly. Dyke's last goal was to make sure that the BBC was properly equipped with the necessary skills it needed to be able to compete in the digital world.
SWOT Analysis of BBC
Strong brand perception: According to Alvesson and Thompson 2004, the BBC is a well known brand when it comes to the world of News, media and entertainment. This respected brand is built on its commitment to quality and innovation, the corporation has successfully placed itself in the market as a sophisticated brand based on its quality services which is a key strength to the corporation's achievements. With its networks scattered round the globe coupled with its highly skilled human resources, it possesses an exceptional experience at gathering news and developing creative programmes. According to Harris and Wegg-prosser 2007, 'The BBC had developed a clear strategy and strong focus on its objectives and goals'.
Solid Financial standing: According to the annual review published for 2008/2009, the BBC revenue rose by 9.5% to £1,003.6bn from £916.3m in the 12 months to 31st March 2009. It could be said that the company made progress in all of its strategic growth objectives despite of the severe downturn that affected all major sectors of the media and entertainment industry. The company has shown the intensity of its productions and its financial might in a hard year for the entire industry through attaining revenues over a billion pounds- BBC Press Office 2009.
The BBC struggles against the fierce competition from its international rivals like the CNN apart from this; within its internal operation, the company is still faced with the challenge of making use of latest technologies. Quoting Wegg-Prosser, 2001, "the BBC needs to catch up with the increasing trend of digital content and focus its spending on the digital form rather than the analog broadcasting especially in radio where the digital radio is indicated as the dominant technology of the future". The BBC is seen to be too conservative and too British, a typical example is the coverage of the Iraq war whereby the BBC was showing something different from what other broadcasting companies where televising. Based on the war coverage for example, the BBC had sanitised their coverage from war zones most especially when it had to do with dead or wounded British soldiers. Other area of weaknesses includes the shortage of staffs at their international facilities and also the lack of strong communication with parent company.
The company has a huge market with significant opportunity to develop due to the current trend in globalisation and the flourishing of some country's economy; this has placed the company in position with potential growth in some global markets. According to Alvesson and Thompson 2004, "based on the corporation being owned by government and still being able to generate huge amount of funding through license fees along with commercial merchandising, BBC can exploit the opportunities much better than its most competitive". The company also possesses a strong online presence; the 'BBCi' is among the most regularly visited site with the provision of wide variety of content such as message boards, limited chat services and a search engine facility. Other area of opportunities includes increased reputation of satellite radio program and also possible expansion in some international market.
With opportunities opened for the company due to globalisation, this has also increased threats to its local market, as other international companies can come in and compete at its market. Based on this, there will be strong challenges among the various brands which would be caused based on more competition in the industry. In this regards the company need to rebrand itself in a way that it will project it to be more modern by availing itself of the latest information communication technologies (ICTs). There has also been more consolidation going on between media giants. For example is the merger between the CNN and News Corporation; this is a major threat to BBC ability to dominate the market scene.
Geert Hofstede's framework
To be able to explain further the culture of the BBC, Jyoti (2005) made use of the hofstede's framework using the five value dimensions: Individualism, Masculinity, Uncertainty avoidance, Confucian dynamism, and Power distance.
According to Jyoti (2005) - Assessing the future of financial data integration: Organizational structure of the BBC, Individualism/Collectivism is said to be the measure of the degree at which individuals can integrate themselves into group. The masculinity versus the femininity describes the distribution of role of gender within an organization or society or in order words, measure the level of achievement orientation. Uncertainty avoidance measures the ability to cope with the unknown or the anonymous situations. Power distance measures the extent to which the less powerful of an organisational acknowledge and anticipate that power is distributed unequally, in order words it represents the degree of inequality". Jyoti (2005) gave the following score based on his opinion that the BBC score would be low regarding power distance due to the three layers of the Board of Governors, the Executive Board and the Divisional Board. He scored BBC medium-high on individualism and medium on masculinity because they have a requirement to stand out, quite low on uncertainty avoidance because the BBC rely on the six core values identified which have aided in its success and allowed it to be conservative and accepted locally which is the UK and also in numerous countries all over the world. He scored the BBC low on Confucian dynamism based on the fact that the BBC is dependent on technology which is could change quickly within a short period.
WAY FORWARD FOR BBC
In order for BBC to move forward, the areas of international issues that are being related to the audiences should be reviewed. The BBC could pass information to audiences through order channels like documentaries, dramas, covering of sport programmes and school programmes and not just focus on news and current affairs. There should be no limit to the sale of BBC programmes and they should work directly in partnership with various UK corporations in order to improve the strategy of its programme sales. The BBC has to build an articulate and consistent published strategy when covering international affairs is it developed world or developing world. Due to the uprising in global satellite and cable communications, BBC must become accustomed to the complex challenges created through the major shift in the listening and viewing practice of its audiences in recent years.