Selling the medium: a brief history of the BBC's commercial arm

Jacobs, Jason (2012) Selling the medium: a brief history of the BBC's commercial arm. London, UK, Critical Studies in Television, University of Hertfordshire.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Jacobs, Jason
Title Selling the medium: a brief history of the BBC's commercial arm
Place of publication London, UK
Publisher Critical Studies in Television, University of Hertfordshire
Publication date 2012-04-27
Series CST Online
Total pages 1 Scholarly blog entry
Language eng
Subject Original Creative Work - Textual work
Formatted Abstract/Summary
The recent attention given to the various troubles associated with the Murdoch media empire, not to mention anxieties about the continued expansion of new media giants like Facebook and Google has had the effect, perhaps, of slightly occluding the workings of more traditional state-funded national broadcasters, whose power in part accrues from their proximity (even at the length of a long arm) to the body of the nation state, an entity whose ability to influence dwarfs that of even the most powerful multinational media conglomerate. The BBC in the UK and the ABC in Australia, both of which are already subject to some form of statutory regulation can only benefit from the augmentation of state regulatory powers that is likely outcome of the various media inquiries under way or recently completed(Levinson in the UK, Finklestein in Australia). But holding on to a valid distinction between public virtue and commercial evil seems neither currently or historically plausible. In this respect I am particularly fascinated in the relationship between politics (or ideology) and aesthetics (or textuality) in media production, especially television, because it illuminates some of the central assumptions about how we consume, experience and value cultural production.

For this reason over the past eight years or so I have been researching the history of the BBC’s commercial activities, work which more recently has been funded by the Australian Research Council under the project title: ‘Worldwide: the history of the commercial arm of the BBC.’ This research aims to excavate a more nuanced sense of the relationship between media production and commerce than the current Manichean figuring of PSB good/commercial bad has tended to allow...
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