26 February 2010

BBC Top Tweet!

It came to my attention that the BBC (yes, THE British Broadcasting Corporation) is one of the top tweets. One source said it was number one and the other at 6th and 8th position. Perhaps source one combined the second sources tweets to give the Beeb number one status. Either way, I had to verify this weird factoid as a lifelong Beeb fan.

Nevermind that the Beeb itself says that Twitter tweets are 40% 'babble'. I also become a true Luddite when it comes to things such as Twitter. I am a quasi-Luddite when it comes to modern technology, grudgingly accepting some things (e.g., computers, blogs, and e-mail). Otherwise going whole hog about things such as the internet, MP3 players, and PVRs (I include iPlayer in that category). Anything which gives me access to "Culture" wherever I may be is more than acceptable to me. The BBC's motto is "Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation" which strikes a chord in me.

Anyway, part of the reason for all the Tweets is that the BBC has announced budget cutbacks. It has proposed closing two radio stations (The closing of Radio 6 causing a fair amount of tweets), half its website, and cut spending heavily on imported American programmes (not much of a loss in my opinion) in an overhaul of services to be announced next month.

Personally, I think the Beeb should introduce external licence fees for all those people who use proxy server to access iPlayer from outside the UK. Sure, there's a get out clause about people who watch delayed programmes which is hinted at in this blurb:
If you watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV you must, by law, be covered by a TV Licence, no matter what device you're using.
Go a little further on the licencing fees website and you see:
However, you don’t need to be covered by a licence if you’re only using ‘on-demand’ services to watch programmes after they have been shown on TV. So, you need a licence to watch any channel live online, but you wouldn’t need one to use BBC iPlayer to catch up on an episode of a programme you missed, for example.
Although, I did have a detector van person knock on my door and ask if I had a Television 20 years ago. I told him that I didn't, but I did have a computer. That was before access to the internet was widespread. Britain didn't have much in the ways of dial-up BBSs either at that time. Soooo...

Anyway, The people using iPlayer as more than just a "catch up service", but as their primary source for receiving the Beeb should be able to access the service directly. Of course, that gets in to all those DRM aspects that I personally detest: in particular, region coded DVDs (or other region blocked material). There are so many ways to get around these things that most Blu-Ray discs AREN'T region coded. So, region coding with me is a topic that truly raises my hackles, but it is also very easy to circumvent. Information should be without borders: especially music and other artistic performances.

So, if the good people at the Beeb would listen to me, maybe they may consider making iPlayer a pay service without borders and time limits. How many Americans are going to want to watch Rab C. Nesbitt? Better yet, how many can understand what he's saying? It's idiotic to make Rab C. Nesbitt DVDs (or other shows with "limited appeal") region coded to the UK or Antipodes (DVD regions 2 and 4). And BBC America is a joke (along with being part of the Discovery Network). If the Beeb won't look to other sources of income, they should stop bitching about licence fees.

Or being broke.

Personally, I'd pay to be able to download from iPlayer if they would cut the DRM crap. Otherwise, get-iplayer does the trick quite nicely for me: especially since get_iplayer gets rid of the DRM!

1 comment:

mud_rake said...

Glad to be able to post comments here. I've enjoyed the BBC ever since I was a kid because my father had a 'short wave' radio with a long antenna running form the garage to the telephone pole. i could pick up the BBC and its reports from 'around the world.'

I suppose that this early experience made me more aware to the greater world around me, and moved me away from my customary parochialism.

Anyway, your post brought back fond memories from 60 years ago! Many thanks.