In a speech to the Royal Television Society, Highfield clarifies the role of the BBC in the commercial Internet landscape. In the previous week, a group of companies, including Associated Newspapers, the Commercial Radio Companies Association, the Newspaper Society, News International and the Telegraph Group, called for greater restrictions on the BBC asking for limits to be imposed on its digital remit.
[The Corporation] absolutely doesn’t want to be a MySpace or a Flickr or a Friends Reunited. [We want our digital presence] to shift from being a gateway to being a conduit, a channel for conveying content and frequently neither the start nor the end of the journey…I believe our audiences value bbc.co.uk as a portal, as a safe haven for many, which offers a starting point and a trusted guide. But we also believe our audience want much more as well. To find our content where they want it, whether within their favourite portal like MSN, their community like YouTube, or their environment like the Second Life virtual world website. They want to contribute their content – this we know – but not necessarily always on our site.