By Larry Jaffee
NEW YORK – The Oxford English Dictionary defines temporarily as “lasting for only a limited period” and finalize as “complete (a transaction) after discussion of the terms.”
Well, six months later there is still no news regarding the “new distribution model being finalized by the BBC and DISH Network,” in the wake of the 1 July on-air announcement that the pay-per-view subscription on the satellite service was “temporarily unavailable.”
BBC Worldwide spokeswoman Christine Black responded to my emailed enquiry, “Hi Larry – No update as of yet. Thanks for checking. C.”
That’s the same thing she told me in September.
It is difficult to speculate what is causing the hold-up or whether a deal will ever be completed.
What we do know is that EastEnders fans willing to pay good money deserve better and many are just tired of waiting.
Alternative ways to view our favourite show and circumvent the “official” reminds me of how the record industry waited too long to come up with a “model” to counter Napster and MP3 file-sharing.
Frankly I’d be surprised if the “new distribution model” ever emerges.
We’ve heard it all before, dating back to a video-on-demand service announced by BBC America in November 2001 with EastEnders being the first programme available in the first quarter of 2002 specifically. But it never launched for reasons never fully explained.
Mark Young, then president and CEO of BBC Worldwide Americas, told me in October 2003 that it became “technically expensive to make the full service available.”
Well, why then would they have not figured that out before publicly stating its imminent launch? It’s because they don’t know what the hell they’re doing. Successive management teams continue to make the same mistakes at BBC America and BBC Worldwide. Its programming for the most part is a blip in the ratings.
I had a boss who once gave me very good advice when I edited a media website that you should never over-promise to the public something that is uncertain. It’s always better to be certain of what can happen, and then over-deliver. The BBC would be wise to follow such wisdom.