The Campbell Swinton Lecture 2013 - Ken MacQuarrie - Director, BBC Scotland - ‘The BBC in a Connected World’

The Campbell Swinton Lecture 2013 - Ken MacQuarrie - Director, BBC Scotland - ‘The BBC in a Connected World’

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Friday, 4th September 2015

BBC lines up live streams from 17 locations to bring audiences quality coverage of Commonwealth Games

BBC audiences throughout Scotland and the UK will be kept in the picture with live streams from the Commonwealth Games venues.

BBC Scotland Director Ken MacQuarrie, speaking at an industry event last night, pledged that programming of, and around, the Games will be second to none.

Delivering the Royal Television Society’s Campbell Swinton Lecture in Glasgow, he said the broadcaster will be taking up the baton from the coverage of last year’s Olympic Games in London.

He said: “In many ways, the Games came of age in a digital world, defined to large extent by the BBC’s approach to coverage. We will adopt a similar approach to the Commonwealth Games, during which 15 separate streams will be beamed from 17 locations around Scotland.

“In this endeavour, we will work closely with colleagues in Salford and London and with BBC teams and other broadcasters across the Commonwealth to ensure that the programming of, and around, the Games will be second to none.”

He told the audience 2014 is a particularly important year for the broadcaster.

He said: “It is the year in which we will commemorate the outbreak of the Great War, we will cover the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and, of course, we will report on every twist and turn of the debate surrounding the Independence referendum.”

Turning to the referendum, Mr MacQuarrie reiterated that the BBC will not take any stance on what broadcasting could look like under independence.

He said: “Broadcasting will feature as a topic for debate within the discussions which will take place between now and September 2014: for the BBC to take – or to be seen to take – any kind of stance on a constitutional issue would potentially damage our reputation for impartial and unbiased reporting, particularly given the fact that the referendum and the issues it will involve will be comprehensively covered covered across out output.”

He also highlighted how the BBC can help audiences to maximise the benefits of digital access.
Recent research by the Carnegie Trust, he said, revealed the existence of a worrying digital divide, particularly in Glasgow where internet access among skilled manual workers is 47% while the UK average of 72%; and 40% of householders interviewed were not online in their homes and of those nearly half have no wish to so in future.

He said: “For those of us for whom universality of access is an important principle, who aspire  to helping audiences to derive the greatest benefit from engagement with emerging media, these are worrying statistics.

“Connectedness, inevitably, is about people, much more than it is about technology and clearly there is a sizeable minority, and no more so than in this city, who have yet to accept the economic and social benefits that digital interconnectedness can bring. 
“I think it is fair to say that open and unfettered access to the digital space can unlock many riches -  but only if you know how to navigate that space.

“And that, for me, points to two important roles the BBC must play going forward – that of curator, helping to organise and make available the fantastic content  that lies deep within its archive; and that of navigator, helping audiences steer their ways through the terabytes of information to find what they need and what is of particular value to them.

“And allied closely to both is yet another role for the BBC – that of partner, working alongside – and connected to - a diverse range of organisations in order to maximise the value delivered to audiences.”


The Campbell Swinton Lecture 2013 – given by Ken McQuarrie, BBC Scotland and introduced by Henry Eagles, RTS Scotland Centre

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