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Weird BBC Policy

Right, firstly, I can't actually link directly to this, because in the BBC website's infinite wisdom, it changes the Feedback page depending on the site based on the referer - so if I directly link to it, it'll go to the normal Feedback page rather than the Doctor Who one. Absolutely abysmal website design.

So, you'll have to go here, and then then click on FAQs at the bottom.

Why aren’t you covering DVDs so much in your News section these days?
BBC rules mean we should only cover merchandise when it is ‘editorially justified’, e.g. when there is an interesting interview quote from a magazine or something different from the norm. Announcing a DVD or its cover each month is considered more of a ‘plug’ for the product. We are working to produce more editorially led DVD news, so the situation should improve shortly.


Jesus. Remember the days when the BBC had confidence in itself?

About this entry


To be fair, the trust (or Trust) issues with the Beeb have become a nightmare, but arguably a necessary one.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like there's an internal debate going on following an initial overreaction. There never seems to be an easy, one-size-fits-all policy for this stuff - but you can see how a big DVD sleeve image appearing every month (or whatever, there's a LOT of Who stuff these days) sits on the edge of 'promotion' rather than 'information'.

2e should probably make a info site which the BBC one can link to. Worked for GNP...

By Andrew
March 08, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

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See, I can see why certain people might think it was promotional - but I think it's a very reactionary view for people to take. These are episodes that you *can't* see anywhere else with any consistency, without going looking for second-hand VHSes. It's important news about the franchise - not just promotional material. Promotional material would be endless articles about the extensive archive of DVDs available. But info on new releases is absolutely fair game, in my opinion.

To put it another way - Doctor Who Magazine gives *extensive* coverage of the Who DVD releases - and not just subjective reviews, but news and previews too. But that's purely editorial - 2 entertain don't pay them anything for it. Why can't the BBC site do the same?

It's all about people getting worried about the BBC covering anything to do with commercial operations. Which is silly, because you end up going too far in the opposite direction, and having an official site that can't cover its own show properly.

By John Hoare
March 08, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

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Maybe they just don't care enough about the DVDs. DWM has to please fans with the news, reviews and previews otherwise it might sell less. The BBC site just gets whining emails.

By performingmonkey
March 09, 2008 @ 2:00 am

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> To put it another way - Doctor Who Magazine gives *extensive* coverage of the Who DVD releases - and not just subjective reviews, but news and previews too. But that's purely editorial - 2 entertain don't pay them anything for it. Why can't the BBC site do the same?

Because the magazine is a Worldwide publication (I assume), so not publicly funded. Sure, it may be editorially justified, but the line isn't as simple as you describe, I don't think. It's a Who magazine, being made for profit, and no matter now independent the reviews themselves might be, they form part of a using-the-franchise-to-generate-cash system.

Reviews and press releases are promotional. Not for the journalists, maybe, but review copies are sent out gratis to generate column inches, press releases are about upping awareness. 2e may not pay for the space, but it costs them in duplication, staff, mailing, research - money they pay because of the financial benefits of doing so.

As I say, the Beeb site thing seems to be an overreaction, but lord knows the cooperation needed to take a long hard look. Not putting out some DVD press releases, in the short term, seems a small price to pay.

By Andrew
March 09, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

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Back in 2005, RTD gave editorial policy as one of the reasons why the Time War on TV wasn't the same as the one that unfolded in the McGann books- if the viewer had to buy mechandise to understand an aspect of a programme's story, then the policy would have been breached. It's probable that a desire to make the War fit his conception of the programme as his real reason, but it's worth noting that this kind of restriction predates the phone-in scandals.

By Julian Hazeldine
March 09, 2008 @ 4:14 pm

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Because the magazine is a Worldwide publication (I assume),

It's not - it's Panini, but licensed by the BBC. Not that it really changes either of our arguments.

I just think the overreaction is silly, because, as I say, it means an official site can't cover its own show properly. And I think *that* means editorial integrity is compromised - just in the other direction. The editorial justification should go above all else, I think, as I think it's clear that people who read the site would be interested in the news. Although it could be argued that the pieces should just be purely factual, rather than opinion-led like they've occasionally been before.

But then, I've just got a big problem with some of the changes that both the BBC and other broadcasters have made recently, as they seem to miss the entire point of what the problems were in the first place - and so masks the real problems. But I'll save my rant for now!

By John Hoare
March 09, 2008 @ 8:09 pm

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