The BBC seems to be restructuring the way its digital platforms sit in the internal hierarchy by hiring “Controllers” (i.e., department heads in non-BBC parlance) for both its audio app BBC Sounds and its TV streaming service BBC iPlayer. Although both platforms have already distributed their own original commissions as well as content from the rest of the BBC, it seems like these new roles will beef up that offering. The job ad for the BBC Sounds controller also lists “developing BBC Sounds to provide users access to third party content”, so that’s yet more confirmation that the BBC is going to open up its audio app to bring in content from other publishers.
I’m interested to see how this shift goes down with existing BBC staff in radio and podcasts, since I’m already picking up some tensions there with how the BBC Sounds app has been integrated into commissioning and distribution structures (I hear complaints about “losing our budget to podcasts” and “why isn’t our show ever featured on the app” fairly often). I’m guessing the appointments are intended to join some of these dots more comprehensively, but I do think that whoever ends up in the BBC Sounds hotseat will be under siege from multiple directions: from execs, desperate to see some return on the big investment in the app; from listeners, frustrated at how the tech works/doesn’t work; and from frazzled producers and editors, trying to get their shows out to the audience.