Alastair Duncan

Digital Britain. Comments in today please.

Posted by March 13, 2009
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I’ve commented today on the Digital Britain report. Pick up on the debate #carter #digitalbritain if you have a moment today and agree/disagree/add. What I’ve said is that  I’d like to understand, explicitly, what vision the report will inspire for the creative industries of Britain, in particular amongst the digital practitioner businesses which are, on the whole, owner managed small to medium enterprises. The interim report appears obsessed with major infrastructure issues, ultimately shrinking publicly owned media companies (see all BBC/C4/C5 merger posts) but without a strategy for the next generation of companies that will emerge in the next ten years.

I’ve heard Lord Carter say that Britain is the best in the world in the advertising business. Maybe twenty years ago, but in the meantime all the major advertising conglomerates operating in the UK, with the exception of WPP, are a) American or French owned, delivering profits elsewhere, and/or b) not generating as much award winning advertising as perhaps we imagine, and/or c) continue to struggle with the impact of digital on their businesses and on consumers.

The British digital creative community [that’s you], however, continues to grow in strength and quality, developing web content, brand utilities, applications that are recognised globally. And is far more in tune with the social impact of digital technologies. I’m not sure we’ve been consulted at all.

There’s an enormous amount of areas to consider – the games industry, for example, isn’t mentioned at all, despite the amount of game play entertainment consumed daily. Another point is that we maintain our dialogue on the products of California’s silicon valley brains trust and entrepreneurial community [bebo notwithstanding]. A Digital Britain should compete, not copy. Mark Earls @herdmeister posted elsewhere about human connections being forgotten in the process of creating this report. He’s got a point. Pipes and tubes are one thing. But defining what goes down those pipes and tubes only by 20th century standards is a missed opportunity. We need to have more focus on creating businesses that will provide inspiration for the world, not just provide 2mb lines that won’t be enough anyway.  @AlastairDuncan

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