BBC fears ‘loss of a generation’ as it outlines plans for the future

The BBC lacks relevancy for teenagers and could even “lose a generation forever” unless the corporation works harder to reach young audiences, admits its director general, Mark Thompson.

The stark warning comes as the BBC unveils the results of its year-long Creative Future project, which was launched in 2005 by Thompson and creative director Alan Yentob.

Report recommendations include creating a new teen brand, delivered via existing broadband, TV and radio services, providing a new long-running drama as well as comedy, factual and music content. Further recommendations include strengthening the children’s brand portfolio by focusing tightly on age groups.

The report states: “They [children aged 0 to 16] are driven by active media, participating, creating, connecting. The BBC is not that relevant to teenagers and needs to really rethink how it reconnects.”

The BBC also plans to rebuild its website around user-generated content, including blogs and home videos, in reaction to the success of sites such as MySpace.com. Its interactive media player MyBBCPlayer, which will allow viewers to download BBC programming from the previous seven days, is to be rebranded as BBC iPlayer. At the Royal Television Society’s Fleming Memorial Lecture last night Thompson said/ “There is a big shock coming.”

He added: “On-demand changes everything. It means we need to rethink the way we conceive, commission, produce, package and distribute our content.”

Further key recommendations include commissioning “360-degree” cross-platform content, implementing a single BBC music strategy across all platforms, creating a sport broadband portal with live video and audio and scrapping the Grandstand brand.

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