9 April 2010
The BBC’s Director of Future Media & Technology, Erik Huggers, presented an optimistic view of the Corporation’s digital future during a recent Media Masterclass.
The session was hosted by the University’s HEFCE-funded Centre for Media Practice (CEMP), based in the Media School. Huggers is hugely influential, overseeing all of the BBC’s output across web, mobile, interactive TV and the variety of new platforms on which it operates, with an annual budget of £400m.
In a rare public appearance, Huggers spoke openly of the BBC’s recently published strategy review which calls for a proportion of the corporation’s online resources to be consolidated in the years ahead. He reassured the audience of BU staff and students that the focus of the review is firmly fixed on the quality of the BBC’s future digital output.
"We have, as a management team, a very clear view of where we want to go, a very clear view of what we would like to achieve and where we see the BBC moving in the future," said Huggers ’in conversation’ with Stephen Jukes, Dean of BU’s Media School.
"In January, BBC Online had 29.5 million users per week. That’s specifically UK users – an amazing amount of people who use the service to become informed, educated or entertained," Huggers continued. "Its grown up to become a service that is no longer there to support the linear output, across radio or television, but is now a service in its own right and is really the third platform of the BBC."
"If you look at our recent strategy review it predicts at some point in the future, that the internet may be the only platform that the BBC uses to fulfill its public purposes; a platform that allows you to listen to radio, watch television, enjoy linear and on–demand programming – its all basically there," Huggers concluded.
Huggers previously worked at Microsoft where he set up MSN in the Netherlands and Belgium. He also headed business development for Windows Media technologies and oversaw strategy for the firm’s entertainment business. Huggers also spent a year in a business development role at the Big Brother producer Endemol.
"We are very privileged to have Erik Huggers with us for this special Media Masterclass," said Stephen Jukes. "He is one of a small number of key players shaping the way we watch television in the digital age."
Erik Huggers is just one of a series of industry speakers to have hosted CEMP Masterclasses at BU. In the past, BU has welcomed BBC Director General Mark Thompson, broadcaster and political commentator Andrew Marr, film director Roger Michell (‘Notting Hill’, ‘Enduring Love’), Ed Richards, Chief Executive of industry regulator Ofcom, and Max Clifford, the PR guru.
To view a podcast of Erik Huggers’ Media Masterclass at BU, please visit Media Masterclass – Erik Huggers.