Visit to BBC Scotland, Glasgow, UK
28-29 October 2008
What is BBC Scotland?
‐ A leading actor on Scotland’s creative, social – and to a certain extent- political scene,
especially at the light of the Devolution.
‐ A leading broadcaster for a nation of 6 millions Scots
‐ Acts as a Commissioner and as a Producer
‐ Provides content to BBC UK
‐ Plays the role of “trainer” and “partner” to promote “Indies” (independent production
‐ Produces more than a 1000 hours of TV specifically for Scot Audience
There is an ongoing debate as to what the exact role of BBC Scotland should be: a window on the
world, the leading channel that brings UK News to Scotland, or the main source of information on
Key genre strategy
BBC Scotland has developed a key expertise over the years in the following genres: comedy &
entertainment; children programmes
BBC SCOTLAND AT PACIFIC QUAY: A BUILDING WITH A VISION
BBC Scotland moved from its historical premises on Queen Margaret Drive to its new location on
Pacific Quay, in the refurbished River Clyde area, in late 2007.
It took 7 years, a visionary outlook and, lots of hard work to build the new headquarters of BBC
According to Ken MacQuarrie, controller of BBC Scotland, “openness” was the driving principle
underpinning the design of the building: going beyond the traditional framework of a TV & Radio
production centre, the building is a trendy blend of a creative space, a communication centre and a
public area. BBC Scotland's new broadcast facilities bring together television, radio and internet,
accommodating production facilities, digital studios, technical support and office space.
BBC Pacific Quay building is one of the first media production building, along with SVT- Sweden
facilities in Göteborg and DR in Copenhagen, to have been specifically designed, from its inception,
to offer integrated multiplatform, tapeless, HD compliant, production facilities.
FROM QUEEN MARGARET DRIVE TO PACIFIC QUAY, A 7-YEAR PROJECT
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‐ The building
o Financed by off balance sheet bond to avoid capital outlays.
o Results from the partnership between the BBC and
a lead architect firm, David Chipperfield,
a property developer, Land Securities
a Design & build contractor, Bovis Lend Lease
o Was build using local design companies and materials
o Took 2 years to build & was delivered on time & budget
‐ Technology solutions
o One integrator for all technology systems was appointed: Siemens.
o Siemens handled all subcontracting
o All technology support functions have been outsourced
o Avid was the main technology solutions provider
What were the project key success factors?
- No deviation from the original technology and transformation vision: tapelessness, HD etc.
even though some demands appeared as being very far-sighted
- Strong and early involvement of production units & end-users; their requirements were built
in from the project inception
- Involvement of staff at all levels and ongoing communication throughout the duration of the
- IT & Broadcast networks have been merged
What were the problems encountered?
- Integration of all systems is very difficult. Post Production solution, in particular proved very
ambitious and difficult to integrate. This is an area that still needs working
- Dealing with Siemens proved difficult as well as the relationship between Siemens & Avid
- Old ways of working die hard; workflow changes should have been better defined and
- In some cases, workflows had to be retrofitted to accommodate given technology solutions
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BBC SCOTLAND’S TECHNICAL & PRODUCTION PLATFORM
- Presentation: “Pacific Quay project” by Susan Allman, Production technology Operations
- Presentation: “Infrastructure & Integration” by Brandon Mallon
BBC SCOTLAND’S DIGITAL LIBRARY
- Presentation “The Digital Library” by Noreen Adams
STAFF DEVELOPMENT & TRAINING ISSUES
- More than 1 200 employees had to go through training over a short period of time: to
ensure the BBC had the most up-to-date tools, the technology was implemented as late as
possible and the training adapted to suit requirements
- BBC Scotland worked in partnership with BBC Training to develop and deliver the training.
- The Pacific Quay training programme had to cater for four workstreams: TV and interactive
radio news and digital library.
- Early on, the BBC took the decision to deliver the training using its own in-house people. This
meant seconding about 30 operational staff, such as programme makers, and putting them
through a 'train the IT trainer' course.
- Most of the courses were delivered face-to-face and on-site, with the training team taking
advantage of the building's state-of-the-art facilities. Classes comprised six students with two
trainers - one from training and development and another from production.
- The “twinned training” model proved key to the success of the overall training &
development approach to accompany the move. This model will be used in other BBC new
facilities project such as Salford Quays in Manchester
BBC SCOTLAND’S NEWS
- Regional centres in the country, all connected to Glasgow: Aberdeen, Inverness, Nothern
o Radio: 6-9am Radio strand (copy of Radio 4); News & Current Affairs at Lunch time
o TV: Reporting Scotland at 6:30pm; Newsnight Scotland
o Online service: Scottish online News Service. Over the last 18 months, the online
audience has raised by 150%. 2 million people, out of 6 million Scots, use the online
News from BBC Scotland. In turn the resources allocated to online News have been
- Newsroom people, organization & tools
o Online news people are in the centre of the newsroom
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o Journalists use Z1 camera and do desk top editing. Every TV journalist has access to
editing. The regional and smaller teams in Inverness, Aberdeen… adapted quickly to
the new self editing requirements as they already had developed a strong team
working culture. Reporters in Glasgow and Edinburgh took longer; some of them
acted as “Prima Donnas”
o Radio settled down quickly in it new environment, TV took longer due to recurrent
problems with Avid tools.
o Coordination between Radio, TV & Online
Continuous news group: TV, radio summaries, online
News gathering: correspondents, reporters, field producers
News organizers have an important part to play. They have to be “clever”
about deployment, choose the right mix of people & competencies depending
on the story & the anticipated output. There is a growing tension between
multimedia & multiskilling: one has to find a balance.
Planning: an effort is made up front to agree on which platform(s) the story
will first go and how
- Are Multimedia newspapers real competitors? Not really as quality newspapers are struggling
and never really invested in proper development of their online presence
o Journalists share 1 video systems and 1 audio system
o It has proved difficult to share info between ENPS and online
- BBC User Generated Content hub is in London: London controls & checks every UG
contribution. There might be a need for a more distributed model.
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CROSS-PLATFORM PRODUCTION – SCOTLAND’S HISTORY – http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/history/
- Why such a project on the history of Scotland?
o A lot of mythology surrounds the history of Scotland: there is a need for a “reality
o There is also a need to bring the renaissance of Scotland’s history to a mainstream
- History of Scotland is a 360o project:
o TV, Radio, Online, Events etc.
o Reaches out to a traditional audience but also to a wider, younger audience
Projects with schools
Audio walks to be later broadcast on radios
Scottish Symphony Orchestra concerts series
Family days at historical venues
o The website aims to become a massive archive warehouse of Scottish history
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