25 May 2013

Digital production system was £98m shambles

6:56 am on 25 May 2013

The BBC has scrapped a £98.4 million digital production system.

The Digital Media Initiative was set up in 2008, but was halted last autumn having never become fully operational.

An independent inquiry has been ordered by BBC director general Tony Hall, who took over in April.

The BBC reports the project was intended to transform the way video and audio material was used and shared and was seen as an important part of a move of resources to Salford.

"Ambitious technology projects like this always carry a risk of failure," Lord Hall said.

The contract to deliver DMI was originally awarded to Siemens in 2008, but was taken over by an in-house BBC team in 2010.

Between 2010 - 2012, the project cost the corporation £98.4 million. An internal review was set up in October 2012 after the BBC Trust expressed serious concerns.

House of Commons Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge said the episode was ''clearly completely shambolic".

"In the future we are going to rely far more on off-the-shelf technology,'' said BBC strategy and digital director James Purnell said.