Lloyd Embley, the group Editor-in-Chief of Reach plc has hit out at the ‘monster’ BBC website.
Speaking at the Society of Editors conference in Manchester on Monday, Embley described the BBC website as an “all-consuming monster” and said that it continued to exacerbate the problems of the industry.
He said: “What I’d really like to do is to hop in a Tardis and go back a decade or so. The reason is that, as an industry, we have sleepwalked into a situation which makes our life even harder than it already is.
“We have allowed our national broadcaster to become the biggest publisher in the country.”
National and regional news organisations struggle to compete against the publically-funded Corporation he said. The BBC had 8,500 journalists in comparison with Reach’s 2,000 and that was not a level-playing field he argued.
“How we can possibly compete with the extraordinary licence-fee funded resources thrown at the written word by the BBC?
“We all fund them to be a broadcaster and I happen to be a huge fan of much of what they do but broadcasting means moving pictures and spoken words.”
Life for publishers would be easier if the BBC website, in its currrent form, didn’t exist, he said.
“We should never have allowed the BBC website to become the all-consuming monster that it is,” he added. “I’d go as far to suggest that it really isn’t in the spirit of the BBC charter.”
“I think the BBC needs to take a long, hard look at itself and conclude that this is is not a level playing field,” he said.