Ashley Highfield

Ashley Highfield66 posts

Ashley Highfield is a British media executive. After starting his career as a management consultant he worked in interactive TV before he was hired by the BBC in 2000. While at the BBC he oversaw the launch of the iPlayer, and grew the corporation’s online business. He is currently the CEO of Johnston Press, a regional newspaper publisher.

9 Jul, 2007
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Guardian Media 100: No. 37

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Highfield is placed at 37 in The Guardian’s Media 100 list of the UK’s most powerful media people.

So why has Highfield, director of future media and technology and a member of the BBC’s executive board, fallen nine places in this year’s MediaGuardian 100? Answer: the iPlayer.[T]he project has been hit by successive delays and rebrandings and has given rival broadcasters the chance to steal the march on the corporation.

17 Jul, 2006
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Guardian Media 100: No. 21

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Highfield is placed at 21 in The Guardian’s Media 100 list of the UK’s most powerful media people.

Ashley Highfield is among the most important technology executives working in the UK today,” said one panellist. “Yes, but talk about being in the right place at the right time,” said another. “Mark Thompson should be credited with the vision, not him.

24 Oct, 2005
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No 1 in Marketing magazine’s Power 50

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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.

Highfield:

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 BBC.co.uk), 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.

18 Jul, 2005
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Guardian Media 100: No. 23

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Highfield is placed at 23 in The Guardian’s Media 100 list of the UK’s most powerful media people.

Highfield has had a much better year than last, when he was regarded as very much on the back foot after the government-ordered Graf report into the BBC’s online operations.While a string of websites have been shut as a result of Graf and the government’s green paper, Highfield’s new media department is expected to be one of the prime beneficiaries of director general Mark Thompson’s controversial plans to make annual savings of £355m.

12 Jul, 2004
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Guardian Media 100: No. 33

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Highfield is placed at 33 in The Guardian’s Media 100 list of the UK’s most powerful media people.

Highfield, perhaps the BBC’s most consummate empire builder, has spent most of the last year on the back foot. In the run-up to the government-ordered Graf report into the BBC’s new media operations, he spent a great deal of time defending the BBC’s online reputation, commissioning KMPG to rebuff accusations that bbc.co.uk unfairly distorted the marketplace.

7 Jul, 2003
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Guardian Media 100: No. 25

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Highfield is placed at 25 in The Guardian’s Media 100 list of the UK’s most powerful media people.

The heat is being turned up on the Beeb’s internet activities after the culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, ordered it to justify the £112m it spends each year on its online and interactive services…The Beeb’s less popular websites are facing the axe (including Crimewatch and Watchdog), while its focus on interactive TV will shift away from high-profile “events”.

2 Jul, 2001
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Guardian Media 100: No. 81

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Highfield is placed at 81 in The Guardian’s Media 100 list of the UK’s most powerful media people.

He will be judged on modernising the corporation’s attitude to digital media and reaching a young, tech-savvy audience, which the BBC is in danger of losing.

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