James Murdoch has laid out the battleground for the next election with his criticism of the BBC.
A controversial media tycoon, Murdoch and his family are seen as being over-powerful, and to some are real-life bond villains who are controlling an evil media empire. In this context James Murdoch?s criticism of the BBC is going to be controversial and the row isn?t going to go away anytime soon. Especially as he has pointed his finger at a British cultural icon.
Laying my cards on the table, I?m no News International fan ? especially its more extremist mouthpieces like Fox. The argument for and against the numerous media outlets owned by this huge corporation is a thesis in itself which I will write up during a bored afternoon sometime in the very distant future.
Regardless of where I stand on News International, my problem is that I kind of agree with Murdoch. In what other industry would we stand by and let a public entity keep growing and growing, competing for space with ?hard-up? publishing entrepreneurs?
This argument might not hold any muster with the man on the street, and I chose the term ?hard-up? with my tongue firmly in my cheek. However, for me, I am behind the entrepreneur. Some of these entrepreneurs are SMEs or regional media outlets which are fighting out for every bit of revenue they can get in order to pay staff and suppliers.
Gordo (@gordomanchester) of Manchester Confidential (www.manchesterconfidential.com ) tweeted me earlier to say that he is behind James Murdoch 100%. He made a valid point and said, how can small publishers compete against a state funded entity that has £180million each year? Putting it like that who can argue?
The BBC is a bit like a member of the family, so changing it would be a poison chalice and will be met with uproar. You could liken it to the spoilt, cute little nephew who the family loves. Everyone knows he needs a firm clip behind the ear, but you love him the just the way he is.
I am not certain if I want Auntie changing, but maybe it should sell off some of its publishing arm. Does it really need to own Lonely Planet for example? Then again, this is a good way to subsidise the cost to the tax payer?
It is inevitable that the BBC will now be the major strategic lynchpin of the next election. Whoever, dances to Murdoch?s tune will get the backing of The-Sun, The-Times et al and ultimately wins the election . This one will rumble on and I would love to hear from other publishers on their views.
©James Crawford’s PR and Media Blog. 2009