Opinion: BBC Internet 'guru' Ashley Highfield wasn't spectacular, all he did was give cyberspace a 'play' button


Jonathan Weinberg writes…

It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have much money. The best innovators often produce the most fantastic efforts when they’re doing it on a shoe-string. Look at Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, he didn’t have millions of pounds when he started it, he simply had passion, drive and a simple idea for something he believed would work.

So the news today that the BBC’s New Media boss is to stand down and move to launch an on-demand video service for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 strikes me as interesting. Ashley Highfield has been feted as one of the most important people on the Internet. But he controls a budget of £74m a year. Surely even a chimp in a tutu could do some decent work with that kind of cash to fund it.

The plan is that “Project Kangaroo” (dumb name for a start) will become the Freeview of the Internet offering more than 10,000 hours of programmes. Now I’ve nothing against that, I love TV. In fact, I’m an addict as my friends will tell you judging by my preference to stay in and watch rubbish on the box rather than going out with them.