Hiring for digital business development

This is a quick ‘I told you so’ post in light of some of the contents of Film Forever, the BFI’s newly-released, 5-year strategy report. Particularly this bit (as reported by The Guardian):

the BFI said it was committed to digitising 10,000 films by 2017, with experts and a public vote helping to decide which films should be included. The BFIPlayer, scheduled for the end of next year, would allow viewers to watch films on-demand

I was saying recently that the larger cultural organisations that have made some of the most notable strides in digital have often established a new role with the word ‘business’ or ‘development’ in the title. You see someone advertising for a Head of Digital Business Development and you know interesting things are coming down the line. Check out the BFI’s job advert from a year ago:

Through establishing the digital business development unit, this role seeks to engage new online audiences, develop a new suite of digital packages, establish a network of digital media partners and deliver revenues of £500,000 on costs of £200,000 in year 3 of the business plan

See what I mean? Dead giveaway. Since I first saw that ad I’ve been telling people to expect something interesting from the BFI, hence my smugness now. All they have to do now is pull it off.

Incidentally, the guy who got the job is Richard Ayres. He was previously Manchester City’s Head of Digital (in fact he’s still involved there) and look at what they’ve been doing over the past little while.

I’m interested in how cultural organisations wrap their heads (and, more importantly, their operations) around the whole digital thing. This is more grist to that mill.

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.