BBC Backstage Launches

Ok, I’m back to revising full time now. I admit I wavered for a few weeks, but now the exams are Real and Scary I’m getting my act together. Currently on a 10-min break from differentiation, and just read this on Ben Hammersley’s blog:

When ever I write an article about the BBC’s latest new media offering, the newspaper I write it in always gets a ton of letters from aggrieved businessmen complaining about how their ability to start a, say, sports new service, is unfairly hindered by the BBC. It’s not fair, they say, for the BBC to be online at all. Given the license fee 1 (To have a TV in the UK requires a license, the proceeds of which pay for the BBC) it’s entirely anticompetitive for the BBC to be on the web. What chance do real businesses have in making any cash at all in the areas the BBC are in? 2 Laying aside the two responses I twitchily come back with. One, dude, society doesn’t owe you a living and but it does owe itself a maximisation of the common good, which this arguably is, and two, your business plan involves competing with the BBC? Idiot..

That’s possibly the best rebuttal I’ve ever heard 🙂 The full article, here, concerns the launch of BBC Backstage, which provides APIs and feeds of pretty much all the BBC website’s content for you to do with as you will (non-commercially). You can publish your own BBC News website, if that’s what you feel like doing. One person has done exactly that, but has added automatic Wikipedia links for capitalised phrases and acronyms, as well as Technorati feeds so you can see who’s linking to that particular article and what they’re saying. Very cool indeed.