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Ashley Highfield

No 1 in Marketing magazine’s Power 50

24 Oct, 2005

Highfield is awarded the top spot in Marketing magazine’s Power 50 selection. The magazine says:

The reason Highfield made number one in the Power 50 is that, so far, the BBC has not just made sense of digital but managed to drag its enormous self to the very front of its development. Highfield has led it there, while [Director General Mark] Thompson is a digital convert himself.


I wonder if it’s our place in the industry, which Tessa Jowell once described as the creative R&D for the nation. Whether we’re expected to innovate because we can, because we can take a long-term view on it or because we are funded differently; that we can be expected to take risks and try things out. And I think having the UK’s largest content web site, that’s got to be one of the reasons why we’ve got this huge role as a route to market. But I do hope it’s more the positive aspects of what we can do to help drive the industry – drive the market – than the 900lb gorilla that distorts the market…First and foremost is our audience, which is why we get the licence fee. You’ve got 16 million people (using, so we have an obligation to be there. It’s not something we can play around with any more. For me, number one is meeting these sometimes frightening audience demands, but not doing so in a way that distorts the market. Far from it. What we are trying to do is make sure that, in getting out to more and more people, we don’t end up dominating share.