BBC Director-General to give Gates Distinguished Lecture

  • May 3, 2011
BBC Director-General to give Gates Distinguished Lecture

Mark Thompson to speak to Gates scholars on 4th May.

BBC supremo Mark Thompson is to give a public lecture this week on the future of broadcasting.

Thompson, the Director-General of the BBC, will give a Gates Distinguished Lecture on 4 May.

He has a long career in broadcasting, having been head of the BBC since 2004 and previously chief executive of Channel 4. Prior to joining Channel 4 he had a long pedigree with the BBC, having assisted the launch of Breakfast Time in 1983, been editor of Panorama and the main BBC news bulletin as well as being head of features, factual programmes, controller of BBC 2, director of national and regional broadcasting and director of television.

During his time as Director-General, Thompson has overseen the broadening of choice on TV and radio by developing wider channel portfolios and the use of other digital platforms. He says the challenge now “is to concentrate on the quality, value and memorability of our content, not just in television but across our services”. 

He has recently been in the news in connection with proposed cuts to the BBC’s budget as part of the public sector cutback programme. He says the BBC will have to shave its budget by up to 20% after the licence fee was frozen until 2017 and to pay for funding of the World Service and BBC Monitoring.

Giving the MacTaggart Lecture at last year’s Edinburgh TV Festival, he said he was looking for cuts at every level of the organisation, but added that he was committed to spending as much of the licence fee as possible on high quality content. He said British broadcasting depended on public support, political independence, public service culture and a mixed funding model.

Lindsay Chura who organised the talk on behalf of the Gates Scholars Council said: “As the largest broadcaster in the world, the far-reaching impact of the BBC across all facets of our society cannot be overstated.  The Gates community is eager to hear from Mr Thompson how the dynamic media landscape is evolving to meet the needs of our increasingly pluralistic and interconnected world.”

The free talk, which starts at 6:30pm in the Queen’s Lecture Building, Emmanuel College, is open to University members and their guests.

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