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LONDON—News emerged recently that the BBC has abandoned a digital production system developed by Siemens, saying the project had been badly managed and outpaced by changing technology. The BBC’s “Digital Media Initiative” was awarded to Siemens in 2008 and was designed to streamline the broadcaster’s workflows, in particular the management of its archives. The collapse of the project led to the suspension of the BBC’s Chief Technology Officer John Linwood.

Tony Hall, the BBC’s director general said the DMI had “wasted a huge amount of licence fee payers’ money,” adding that “I have serious concerns about how we managed this project.” According to the BBC Blog, “the first parts of DMI were rolled out across the BBC in 2012, including the Fabric Archive Database—a system to allow users to search and request access to the BBC’s archive of tapes and other media. In addition, wide ranging technical infrastructure was installed to underpin the move to a digital, tapeless way of working for the future.”

In 2012, the broadcaster decided to put the project on hold to conduct a review and concluded last month that “it is clear DMI’s ambitions have not been met,” according to Dominic Coles, BBC Director of Operations. Coles added that a wider-ranging investigation will be conducted to determine what went wrong and that disciplinary action could be taken. But Coles also stressed that the need for a comprehensive state of the art digital production system remains.

“The need to work digitally and ambitiously remains but, moving forward, the BBC will deliver this digital environment in more manageable stages with stricter project management controls and clearer objectives that reflect the current business and technological requirements,” Coles said.

For more details, see...
BBC was Warned That its DMI Would Fail, at Information Age.

BBC Blows £98 Million on Digital Media Initiative, atIEEE Spectrum.

We may never know the true cost of the BBC's latest disaster – but it'll be a lot more than £100 million, at The Telegraph.