"He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way!"
I wish I could recite this line in public with a Sean Connery accent but I'm afraid I'd sound more like Russ Abbot and Ronan Keating's love child. Where am I going with all this you ask? To put it bluntly, BBC 3 just took a knife to a gunfight.
The recent revelations that the Beeb is taking BBC3 off the air and into the online market has sparked a backlash from staff and lovers of this youth orientated channel. For me, this move provides a golden opportunity for the BBC to embrace the new digital market with a great statement about how they are moving with the times. This shift is a bid to capture the online market, which is where most of BBC3's audience spends their time.
Instantly, the Twitterati revolted against the news with the hashtag #SaveBBC3. Why on earth would you use a successful 'new media' platform to denounce the land of 'old media'? That's just playing against your argument.
The bottom line to all of this is that the news is five years too late. The audience for this type of programming moved online a long time ago. For BBC3, this opportunity is like giving up an old Skoda with a chance to race in Formula One.
Look at the massive success of SBTV. When it started in 2006, it grabbed the youth market with both hands. An online channel founded by Jamal Edwards, who is only his early twenties and killing it. SBTV is simple. Youth programming, run by young people with the flexibility to move and shape within the times and attract big names. There is no great filming budget, no huge marketing budget and no ridiculous hierarchy. It is straightforward content delivered at a fraction of the budget that BBC3 could ever dream of.
In an interview, Edwards commented, "SBTV's connection with the youth and big stars is what keeps people hooked to the channel. And I'm buzzing with creative ideas to be on the top of my game" But he really hit the nail on the head when he said, "The revolution will not be televised, if it's televised, it'll be digitalized first."
What's not to like about this guy? He can quote Gill Scott-Heron and wrap up the digital game in one sentence.
Another great example is EpicTV. Started only two years ago, the online adventure sports channel - now regularly achieves close to 10 million viewers each month, through content being shared and syndicated out into the mainstream from a standalone website. With the proposed plans being for BBC3 to be tied to iPlayer, it will never be able to achieve what SBTV and EpicTV do. Suffocated by the older focused content the iPlayer isn't and will never be a destination for today's youth. Make it separate (drop it from the license fee) and allow the young, creative, funny values of BBC3 to live away from 'auntie'.
Danny Cohen, the BBC's current Director of Television, recently admitted that, "In an ideal world we would not be making this move for a few more years", preferring to wait until online, non-linear viewing had grown further. Indeed, Cohen believes waiting a few more years "would be a safer, less risky strategy." It would be a safer and less risky strategy to appoint some chimpanzees to the board of the BBC, then dig up Jimmy Saville and appoint him Chairman.
Hey, great idea Danny, lets wait a few more years until you are so totally and completely out of touch with your audience that BBC 3 becomes totally redundant. Instead let's bemoan how terrible it is that BBC 3 becomes an online channel and champion that you can spend more money on BBC1 drama and CBBC.
If the BBC thinks that they can continue to broadcast "TV" shows to the online world they are way behind the curve. They need to be much more gangster with their new approach to making content both long form and short form and look at how the online word is doing it better, bolder and cheaper.
Which brings me back to the Untouchables, and one gangster in particular. I think Al Capone puts it best. 'Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class...I'm like any other man all I do is supply a demand.'
It's a cutthroat world and 'auntie' needs to toughen up if its gonna have any chance in this gunfight.