The BBC can’t connect with the kids

I’ve read in the Guardian that the BBC has been asking MPs recently to regulate smart speakers. Their reasoning being that it creates a monopoly by foreigners (though worded more politely, of course). The article also mentions:

The BBC is already struggling to keep youth audiences tuning into its TV programming in the Netflix era, and Purnell raised the spectre of the Silicon Valley giants extending that to control of audio access as smart speakers become commonplace.

I would suggest that if the youth isn’t interested in your content then there may be two reasons for it.

  1. You simply don’t make content they like.
  2. The TV licence is likely something a newer generation just afford or wants.

On the subject of the licence, there is no bigger non-competing entity in the UK so to complain about anti-competitive behaviour is slightly ironic. It’s hard to avoid even if you watch TV from other countries and not paying it can result in, at best, harassment. At worse fines and prison. Being poor and wanting to escape your reality with some TV is apparently one of the highest crimes in the UK.

But without going off on a tangent, it also feels like they’re concerned that they can’t control the narrative.

We tried to work with them to have a way with their systems of us having that editorial oversight but we weren’t able to do that.

With the BBC’s problematic pro-government bias, Question Time issues, D Notices and the UK dropping down the ranks of press freedom then perhaps that’s not a bad thing.

To cut to the point, clearly I disagree and do not think this is the answer. However, I do think if the BBC wants to compete, they should be able to. Which gets me to my final point, I suspect part of the reason the US is running circles around the BBC and basically all British media is that compensation for your technical ability in the UK is considerably lower than pretty much anywhere else in the world. UK tech salaries are dire.

As someone who lives in the Cambridge area (Silicon Fens as they say) I can tell you that for being the UK equivalent of Silicon Valley it’s embarrassing. Cambridge house prices vs the average Software Engineer salary. It’s bad. Then the lack of good public transport and general facilities. Not surprising if a companies does operate in the UK it’s in London.

You can literally go nearly anywhere else in the world as a software engineer and the odds are you’ll lead a better life than in the UK. So, that’s what people do. The result, is the UK just doesn’t provide much in the way of good, popular software. For European software powerhouses, you need to look to the likes of Germany. There’s quite a bit of quality software that comes from Germany (including Ulysses which I’m using right now). It may be coincidence but it also seems German companies target UK developers knowing they’ve got an advantage.

This isn’t good for the UK economy especially as we risk the one money maker (finance) on Brexit. It would be nice is for the BBC to take its anti-competitive position and try to foster a good stable of UK developers. Lobby MPs to instead push for better public transportation and other non-car methods through out the UK so it’s not just London. A nice side-effect is that these things also help everyone else.