General / News

A report confirms the causes of BBC’s Digital Media Initiative fail

Carolina Añaños- “Confusion” and a lack of planning by the BBC’s Executive were the main reasons for Digital Media Initiative’s (DMI) failure. According to a National Audit Office (NAO) report published on Wednesday by BBC Trust, the channel overestimated its capacity of successfully achieving the project, which was cancelled on May 2013, resulting in a loss valued on £98,4 million (around €115 million) and the departure of chief technology officer John Linwood.

The aim of the DMI was to create a sort of intern YouTube, an online platform where all the BBC’s content would be digitalized. Since its approval on 2008, when the BBC and Siemens signed a contract valued on £79 million without a previous open request for tenders, the DMI has suffered many complications and management mistakes which leaded to its cancellation. “If the BBC had better governance and reporting for the programme, it would have recognized the difficulties much earlier than May 2012”, affirmed the head of the National Audit Office, Amyas Morse. The report also reveals that the Executive called off the project without giving consideration to its technical feasibility or cost of completing it.

“It is essential that the BBC learns from the losses incurred in the DMI project and applies the lessons to running technology projects in future.” Diane Coyle, Vice Chairman BBC Trust, said after knowing the investigation’s results. In its answer to the report, the channel has recognised that it underestimated the project’s complexity.

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