30 March 02004

BBC Creative Archive and 'Martini Media'

There are several interesting points in this speech by the BBC's Director of New Media & Technology. The points that caught my attention were:

  • the first use I have seen of the term 'Martini Media' — anytime, anyplace, anywhere — to denote a concept I have elsewhere referred to as ubiquitous access;
  • some pointers to the future shape of 'BBC On Demand' and the pilot of an Internet Media Player;
  • more news about the BBC's "Creative Archive [which] will give everyone in the UK the freedom to search for and access clips from the BBC's television and radio archives via bbc.co.uk. They will be able to download clips free of charge and use them in a way that will enable them, we hope, to explore their own interests more fully. The clips won't expire, users will be able to keep them forever and will be able to manipulate and add to them."

I like Martini Media, and shall try and promote its use — greatly preferable to the faux-homespun terminology of 'digital campfire' that also makes an appearance in the speech.

Some may be cynical about the claim that the BBC has played its part in making the broadband and digital terrestrial TV markets, but I would at least vouch for the former. As mentioned in my posting on online radio, I'm a big fan of the BBC's Radio Player, and BBC content probably accounts for more than half of the bandwidth I use. Just as well since I pay a licence fee yet can't get watchable TV reception.

Licence payers should also be glad if the Creative Archive is going to sort all the digital rights management issues to allow them unlimited free use of clips from radio and TV. This also chimes with the arguments for a 'remix culture' put forward by the likes of Lawrence Lessig. I'm not holding my breath and counting on this really meaning all that it seems to promise, however. At the time Greg Dyche first announced the Creative Archive, a friend of mine who works for the BBC TV and radio archive said this was the first he'd heard of it, which suggests plans are not far advanced.

And many rights anomalies persist: you'd think the BBC would have fairly free reign over the use of recordings of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, but if they do, they don't always use it to make them freely available. I asked them if there were any plans to make the programmes they broadcast from the John Cage festival available even for seven days after first broadcast, and they replied "We regret that there are no current plans to release the programmes on the 'Listen Again' service. Increasingly, Radio 3 and other BBC networks are making programmes available streamed 'on demand'. However, we are a very long way from being able to provide a fully on-demand service. This is because the BBC has to acquire extra rights to make material available on the Net, which is by definition a totally international constituency... Currently, the BBC is maintained by UK licence-payers, and there is an issue over the extent to which the BBC may legitimately cater for non-licence-payers - and because of its public service Charter obligations, this issue can't be resolved just by offering a subscription service." Strange.

Thanks to Seb Schmoller's fortnightly mailings, whence I found this link.

Posted by David Jennings in section(s) BBC, Curatorial, Music and Multimedia on 30 March 02004 | TrackBack

Update: here are more recent details of the BBC Creative Archive.

Also here's another article on martini media and another.

Posted by: David Jennings on 23 December 02004 at 8:24 PM

Further update: Launch of the Creative Archive Licence Group.

Posted by: David Jennings on 17 April 02005 at 10:24 AM
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