Procurement of talent – six more creative ideas for the BBC

In our last post on this topic, we looked at ways in which procurement principles could be applied to the acquisition of ‘talent’ for the BBC (or indeed for any other organisation that engages presenters, actors, chat show hosts, sports analysts...) Today we have some somewhat crazier ideas on the same subject. They’re proposed with tongue firmly in cheek, although actually some of them might just work!

Demand management – use fewer presenters

The best way of saving money is not to spend it – an old spend management cliché but true nonetheless. So let’s apply some demand management here. Do you REALLY need two analysts on Match of the Day? Could you reduce the number of frames in the snooker matches? Why do we need quite so many journalists to be present at major events – actually, that has become a serious issue with the BBC under criticism for example because of the hundreds of staff who go to Glastonbury or the World Cup.

Reduce the specification

Another basic procurement process – switch to a lower specification product or service. We don’t need sports presenters who were ex world champions or Premiership footballers. Someone who once played for Aldershot for a few weeks in the 1980s would be fine. And never mind Paxman – that bloke down the pub who always has the answer to every big issue of the day, he’d love to do Newsnight!

Use reverse auctions / optimization software

“Hello. You have signed on to participate in a reverse auction to choose the new presenter for Strictly Come Dancing. We have already evaluated the non-cost factors and scored each participant appropriately. Please now enter your opening bid for hosting 15 shows and 15 results shows from September to December 2014. Fees should be exclusive of VAT but include all travel and other incidental expenses. The auction will continue until no new bid has been received for 15 minutes”. Well, why not? Or use some clever ‘market informed sourcing’ software and allow different proposals back from the presenters – “I can do the shows in November but not the others, and my price is conditional on also getting three guest appearance son Have I Got News For You”...

Offshore (Indian newsreaders…)

And now, over to our newsroom for the Six O’Clock news, live from Mumbai (Lagos, Tallin…) Well, why not? Plenty of people who speak excellent English, I'm sure we can find the Indian equivalent of lovely  Susannah Reid or witty Bill Turnbull. There are (quite rightly) plenty of non-Anglo Saxon faces on the TV already, so there shouldn't be any issues of acceptance here. Now maybe you can't move entire chat shows, but do you really need your newsreaders to be in the UK? Match of the Day hosted in Ghana, they love their football in West Africa! Offshoring has worked for many organisations, why not with the BBC?

Develop robotic presenters!

Let’s go one step further. Certain people as we mentioned here are getting very excited about robotics reducing costs for many business service activities. So never mind offshoring – let's have robot talent. I mean, would Bruce Forsyth's jokes be any worse coming from an android? I don't think so. And they never throw a tantrum, or get discovered in a basement brothel snorting coke...

 Use virtual presenters

Who remembers Max Headroom?  Maybe we don’t even need physical ‘things’ at all, not even robots. What about avatars or holograms or other virtual creatures? As well as an immediate potential saving, just thing of the market pressure this would put on flesh and blood talent, as an incentive for them to keep down their rates!

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