Monday, 1 March 2010

Jeff Randall on Today: 'Local press won't survive with BBC tanks parked on their lawn'

Former BBC business editor Jeff Randall warned today that local papers won't survive if the BBC continues to "park its tanks" on their lawn.
He likened the impact of the BBC local news web pages on the local press as the equivalent of supermarket giant Tesco taking on small, specialist traders.
Interviewed by John Humphrys on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Randall said he had looked at the BBC's web pages for Essex, provided by BBC Radio Essex, where he lives.
"I don't see how an independent, small newspaper can survive for ever in a world that is so tough, where advertising is shrinking and you've got the BBC parking its tanks on its lawn saying 'we can do all that for free, c'mon boys help yourself.'
Asked by Humphrys whether the BBC has to adapt to meet the differing and changing needs of licence payers, Randall argued: "What you are really saying is that BBC has got to become the media equivalent of Tesco, marching into the market place of small, specialist providers stamping all over their territory.  The difference is that Tesco has to prove its place in the market place. It has to earn its place there.  It has to make profits  the BBC dosen't."

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