October 25, 2020

Times Co.’s Thompson to Testify to Parliament About BBC

The program started in 2008, according to a release the BBC issued last month, and was intended to have all of the BBC’s production and archived materials converted to a digital format. The BBC halted the project in October 2012 to review how well it was performing. In May, the BBC’s current director general, Tony Hall, decided to cut the program after it had accumulated about $154 million in costs because, he said, “The D.M.I. project has wasted a huge amount of license fee payers’ money and I saw no reason to allow that to continue, which is why I have closed it.’’

He added that he had “serious concerns about how we managed this project and the review that has been set up is designed to find out what went wrong and what lessons can be learned.”

“Ambitious technology projects like this always carry a risk of failure,” he said. “It does not mean we should not attempt them but we have a responsibility to keep them under much greater control than we did here.”

When Mr. Thompson testified before the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons about the program in February 2011, British newspapers said, he described how the program had been progressing.

“When I appeared in front of the P.A.C. in 2011 to discuss D.M.I., I answered all of the questions from committee members honestly and in good faith,” Mr. Thompson said in a statement on Monday, according to The Guardian, which on Tuesday reported on Mr. Thompson’s pending appearance before Parliament. “I did so on the basis of information provided to me at the time by the BBC executives responsible for delivering the project.”

Mr. Thompson left the BBC last fall to become chief executive of the Times Company. Since then, he has been called to testify about how the BBC handled sexual abuse accusations against one of its longtime television hosts, Jimmy Savile.

While it is unclear exactly when Mr. Thompson will return to London to testify in the Digital Media Initiative matter, Eileen Murphy, a Times Company spokeswoman, said in a statement, “Mark has always been cooperative with inquiries when they arise and he fully intends to continue that practice.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/business/media/times-cos-thompson-to-testify-to-parliament-about-bbc.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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