With the rise of Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party in the General Election in 1979, it heralded an era of change. Thatcher was strongly in favor of the privatization of state-owned industries and making sweeping social changes by the reduction of taxes and non-essential social expenditures. This coupled with the expansion of Satellite and Cable television in the early 1980’s forced John Birt, to reassess the future of the BBC and instigate a rapid change in the culture of the BBC to ensure its survival (BBC, 2014).
The BBC, was founded in 1922, as the British Broadcasting Company by a group of leading wireless manufacturers. In 1927, by Royal Charter, the BBC was re-established as the British Broadcasting Corporation, with Sir John Reith as its first Director General.
The BBC plays a vital role as a political and cultural force in British society. Until 1985, the BBC was able to comfortably operate due to the financial strength built through the licensee fee collected from each radio and television user in the UK. In 1985, the UK imposed government regulations to freeze the license fees. This was a turning point for the BBC, and forced them to review and change their strategies.
Due to the income generated through the license fee, the BBC had begun to become lax when focusing on improving the profitability & the resource optimization of their core business. With the new situation, the hidden factors such as inefficiency, poor resource management & underutilization of the workforce came to light.
The rapid growth in digital technology & emergence of new market players became another threat to the sustainability of the BBC. Until 1982, there were only four major terrestrial television channels in the UK; Channel 4, ITV, BBC-1 and BBC-2. The introduction of Satellite and Cable TV channels in the early 1980’s, saw a steep decline in the BBC’s viewership. The BBC needed to adapt and to use these emerging technologies to produce high quality & competitive programmes to further sustain their place as the pioneer of the industry in the UK. This situation called for the need for radical changes which needed to take place in the long-term strategies of the BBC, to ensure its long term sustainability.
SWOT ANALYSIS OF BBC
Reputation for honest reporting, outstanding quality and best program maker Establishment as the pioneer of the business
Ample resources to cover any major event
Experiences in the industry
Inefficiency and resource wastage
Poor staff utilization (in some areas 25-50%)
Lack of business process intelligence for portfolio planning
Cost optimization through optimum resource management
Produce more attractive & quality programmes by using the new technology New business markets and models
International Expansion (underutilized resources & workforce can be used)
Diminution of License based revenue and incremental rise in cost of operations Government trend to privatize the public sector
Rising finance deficit
Boost in technological development (Digital Technologies) and emergence of new market players (BskyB)
SELECTING A CHANGE STRATEGY
Open Learning World (2011) describes that, in order to select an appropriate change strategy for a particular organization, it is vital to consider several factors. The article states that “level of change resistance” should be considered as a key aspect in implementing the change. If the degree of resistance is high, the strategies should be selected more towards to power coercive and environmental adoptive manner. On the other hand, if the organization is demonstrating rather low resistance, a strategy with the combination of normative re-educative and rational empirical would be more suitable.
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