Select Committee on BBC Charter Review Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1640 - 1645)

TUESDAY 20 DECEMBER 2005

Mr David Morgan and Mr David Collier

  Q1640  Lord Maxton: Do they then lay down when you can show the highlights on the website? Do they say you cannot show them until so many hours have passed from the end of the match or whatever? That is what they do with football.

  Mr Collier: No, they do not. We have set our own limits as to what we will show as the amount of coverage, which is something like seven instances or one and a half minutes of highlights in an hour period.

  Q1641  Lord Maxton: Do you intend expanding that because to some of us that is the future? Do you think that is where eventually broadcasting will be?

  Mr Collier: It comes back to this balance between commercial reality and what we can achieve in terms of additional income from ECB. Clearly, there is no sense in us trying to sell rights to broadcasters if we are competing against that broadcaster ourselves. What we are having to try and do is work out how we get the widest possible audience whilst also getting the value of the commercial rights packages. That is why we believe the best balance for us and for the consumer is for us to show highlight clips rather than becoming directly competitive with the broadcaster, because if we did we would downgrade the value of our own rights. We would be shooting ourselves in the foot.

  Q1642  Baroness Howe of Idlicote: I wanted to ask a slightly broader question. You were talking about Sky and how they had introduced quite an interesting range of how cricket has been seen and explained to those who perhaps do not understand it. I was intrigued to see that women's cricket was one of the areas that they covered. I wondered what was the point of that. Cricket is a pretty masculine game and I wondered what you thought the motivation was for that side and whether the BBC would be quite as good at it as Sky clearly has been. What do you think their motivation was?

  Mr Collier: Certainly ECB were very keen within the broadcasting agreements to ensure that not only did we cover our international game but that we also covered a wide aspect of cricket, that the domestic game, our county game, as well as our women's game, as well as our under-19 international matches were covered. The only broadcaster which has covered the women's game and our under-19 games has been BSkyB. I think it is again because of the range of opportunity they have in terms of a dedicated sports channel that they have been able to do that. There was massive interest in our women's side when they regained the Ashes this year. There was a wonderful reception at the Brit Oval when they paraded the Ashes around the outfield there. They were part of the Ashes parade in London. That gave women's cricket the biggest boost, and certainly the discussions at the International Cricket Council were that England and Wales has been a world leader in promoting the women's game in the last 12 months primarily because of the coverage that we received on BSkyB.

  Q1643  Baroness Howe of Idlicote: I asked that question with tongue in cheek because I was taught cricket at school and consequently have followed it ever since, so I have a slightly biased view on that. Having said that, the question really was also, because we are looking at the BBC Charter Review, do you think now, having seen what Sky have done, that the BBC are going to be able or will want to do the same, encourage women—bigger audience and all sorts of other reasons?

  Mr Morgan: There is no reason at all why the BBC should not cover women's cricket and cover the aspects of the game that are not normally associated with the Test Match and One Day International cricket played by other players.

  Q1644  Chairman: There is one last question which I think will require a one-word reply. I imagine that you are not in favour of cricket going back to Group A in the listed events?

  Mr Morgan: Correct.

  Q1645  Chairman: I thought that might be the case. I would like to thank you very much indeed for coming. How many more one day matches are there?

  Mr Collier: One.

  Chairman: We wish you luck in the last game. Thank you very much. You have put yourselves out incredibly. I hope the jet lag is not too bad and have a very good Christmas.



 
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