World Wide Web? NOT!

So, the Beeb has banned non-UKers from viewing official BBC content on YouGoogleTube, escalating a disturbing trend. Last fall, the Beeb banned non-UK viewers from viewing both the Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures websites, claiming charter concerns.  It’s only a matter of time (I daresay, March 30 at the latest) before non-UKers are forbidden to see the content on the Doctor Who site itself.

Since when have they been so gung-ho about their charter? Has it been changed recently? (Not that I can tell, but I might be using the wrong Google keywords.) For years, the Beeb joyously offered everyone photos, games, audio samples, and video clips from both classic and current series. People from all over the world utilised the first “w” to check out distinctly BBC product and totally grooved on it. Now, though, you have to be British to play.

Surely this policy is shooting BBC Worldwide in the foot.  How can they create buzz without having a fully-accessible website to promote their offerings? No buzz, no foreign sales.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that the BBC has worked hard to lose profits. You don’t have to look any further than the amount of time it took to sell the current series to an American network. Conventional wisdom has it that it was all about price– that BBC Worldwide was trying to charge for the show like it was the #1 American hit show, when at best the series has never been more than a cult fave in this country.

Nevertheless, I am still disturbed by this cutting off of access. It’s not just the Beeb dicking Doctor Who fans around here, it’s a symptom of a more pervasive disease– the need to control. In the U.S., there’s frequently talk about how the big ISPs (Comcast, AT & T, etc.) want to charge premiums for passing through their servers as you surf the web– i.e., the more you pay, the faster you can surf. Also, the faster your site will load for people. Hella good way to make $$$$ off of ebay, amazon, etc., and really awful for mom-and-pop commerce sites. (Or for the personal sites, too.)

I am tempted to say that the kind of regulation going down (or trying to go down) is purely a result of the Current Administration, but deep down I realise that the Democrats would be just as greedy. It does come down to money.

And in the Beeb’s case, “coming down to money” translates as “being anal about who can view content based on who pays licensing fees.” Perhaps also a matter of time? The Beeb requiring one to log on with their licensing fee account before you can view content. *sigh*

Although, Beeb? Anytime you want to sell international liscences for full access to your website including, say, downloads of new episodes, you let me know!

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