Public broadcasters and the web


in Economics, Films and movies, Geek stuff, Internet matters

The existence of the internet changes the economic logic of public broadcasting. Where, at one point, the BBC was a collection of channels, each showing one bit of their vast archive at a time, now much of it is online. That creates a huge database of materials, paid for by taxpayers, and ideally free to be accessed without copyright concerns. Being able to view documentaries like Dangerous Knowledge upon demand is a notable benefit, and one not adequately captured by private sector content generators who are not concerned about societal benefits not captured in their profits.

If all the world’s national broadcasters and other public generators of knowledge would open up their libraries comprehensively, it could make the internet an even more valuable thing than it already is. Unfortunately, that process seems likely to be piecemeal and marked by set-backs. Witness the BBC iPlayer dispute.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon @ Wadh September 11, 2007 at 3:37 pm

Are people outside the U.K. legally allowed to watch BBC films that have been uploaded online?

Milan September 15, 2007 at 2:36 am

See also this post on James Burke’s Connections

I love that show.

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