The BBC's new technology chief wants to focus on the broadcaster's online offerings

BBC to become 'internet first' broadcaster says tech head

The BBC will aim to become an "internet first" broadcaster in a bid to appeal to younger audiences, its head of technology has said.

The corporation announced last year that its BBC Three TV channel would be moving online only and Matthew Postgate, the corporation's chief technology officer, said that move was indicative of its "direction of travel".

Postgate told the Financial Times newspaper that he has been tasked with ensuring that the BBC could compete with online rivals such as Netflix and Amazon and remains "relevant" to younger viewers.

"It's my job over the next five years to put in place the production foundations to be internet first," he said. "I think the direction of travel for the BBC is that we need to make sure that our portfolio is relevant in the internet age. BBC Three was a brand that you could move from one platform to another relatively easily."

Postgate was appointed in 2013 in the wake of the failed digital media initiative (DMI), an attempt to create an integrated digital production and archiving system, which cost the BBC £98.4m when it was scrapped by current director general Tony Hall in his first weeks in the job.

But he said that he would instead be focusing on piecemeal changes. "Rather than trying to deliver one large project, we've been taking off the different components and moving forward," he added.

With many viewers now streaming programmes on catch-up or subscription services online, Postgate said the broadcaster would "have to learn lessons if they're going to be in a position to compete with organisations that were born the digital age".

But he added brands like the flagship channel BBC One was perhaps more suited to "broadcast-oriented technologies" and he later clarified that he was not suggesting that the BBC would be putting its content online only.

"My role is to make sure that the BBC's technologies that underpin everything we do – from our newsroom infrastructure and new in-the-field production and editing tools, to how we keep the BBC on air and online – are set up in the best possible way, and take advantage of new internet-based technologies,” he said.

"This is what will give the organisation the flexibility it will need to evolve to meet our audiences' expectations now and in the future."

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