Politicians in the United Kingdom serving on a parliamentary committee say that the British Broadcasting Corporation, and its former director general Mark Thompson, misled Parliament two years ago in regards to a digitization project.
The project, called Digital Media Initiative (DMI), was halted last month after the BBC said it was a failure. This is after spending just under $150 million on the project, which was developed in an effort to convert all production and archives to a digital format.
The problem that Parliament has with this is that in 2011 the BBC stated that the system was slowly coming together, but was on the track to succeeding.
"The thing that really shook me is we were told there were bits of this system that were working, you were using and running programs with them, and that wasn't true," said committee chair Margaret Hodge. "The evidence given to us was not correct at that time, and had you given us the correct evidence, we might have come to a very different view to the one we came to when we looked at this."
Current BBC director general Tony Hall made the decision to pull the plug on the initiative, with the BBC Trust agreeing with the move, after 5 years. A review found that the initiative "was not going to deliver on its stated objectives." It seems hard to believe that the BBC had no idea that was the case prior to now, doesn't it?
“The DMI project has wasted a huge amount of license fee payers’ money, and I saw no reason to allow that to continue," said Hall in May. "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."
Thompson is expected to be recalled to explain why what he said in 2011 does not seem to be true.
Given how the BBC is funded, I think it has a ton of explaining to do on this one. Obviously not every project works like you intend it to, but what changed in two years that made it impossible to fix?