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TV & Radio

BBC suspends chief technology officer and ends digital plan – after a £100m bill


The BBC has scrapped an ambitious attempt to create a digital production system and archive after admitting it had wasted almost £100m, adding that to continue the project would be “throwing good money after bad”.

The Digital Media Initiative (DMI), which aimed to create a production system linked to the Corporation’s vast broadcasting archive, has cost £98.4m since it started in 2008.

The BBC’s Director-General Tony Hall said: “DMI has wasted a huge amount of licence feepayers’ money and I saw no reason to allow that to continue. I have serious concerns about how we managed this project and the review that has been set up is designed to find out what went wrong and what lessons can be learned.”

The Corporation’s chief technology officer John Linwood, who earns £280,000 a year, has been suspended on full pay pending the outcome of the BBC’s investigation.

BBC Trust member Anthony Fry said the project had “generated little or no assets”. In a letter to Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee which investigated the project, he added: “Much of the software and hardware which has been developed could only be used by the BBC if the project were completed, a course of action which, due to technological difficulties and changes to business needs, would be, I fear, equivalent to throwing good money after bad.”

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The BBC has squandered an exceptional amount of licence feepayers’ money on this doomed project.”