Opinion: Leader - Pressure intensifies on BBC's PR teams

The BBC is ending the year, as it began it, under the public microscope.

The measures announced this week by director-general Mark Thompson are redolent of a political party unveiling its manifesto ahead of an election.

Thompson has promised to slash costs, increase quality and devolve more responsibility to the regions. The Beeb's own D-Day comes in 2006 when its charter comes up for renewal and it seeks to preserve the licence fee.

The BBC has to juggle a raft of different, often competing demands from stakeholders - government, Ofcom and, of course, the public. It is expected to deliver the kind of innovative programming insufficiently served by the commercial sector, but maintain a popular appeal and refrain from appearing elitist.

The very visible funding mechanism of the licence fee itself gives free reign for people to attack it.

Union criticisms that 3,000 job cuts will damage the quality of its output not withstanding, Thompson's announcement this week just about rode the BBC's PR tightrope. On the upside, for example, plans to relocate jobs have been lauded by the Manchester media set.

But as the axe nonetheless hangs over thousands of jobs, its internal communications challenge is the more pressing.

It has to make its staff understand the need for change or face disillusioned or soon-to-be-former BBC journalists briefing its commercial rivals against it. Little more than that could sour the mood for charter renewal.


The PRCA's new 'Observer' membership category is a welcome lowering of the barrier to entry.

Consultancies less than two years old with five or fewer staff can now join. As the survival rate of small businesses remains notoriously low, the PRCA's efforts to provide more firms with contract nous and legal advice will help ensure the talents of entrepreneurs are better able to stay in the PR industry.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

Growing number of clients plan PR budget increases

Growing number of clients plan PR budget increases

The number of marketers planning to increase their PR budgets during 2014 has climbed, according to the latest quarterly Bellwether survey by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations tomorrow

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations tomorrow

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home after a second day of deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Champagne producer Charles Heidsieck appoints Story PR