To catch everyone up, just before the last Formula1 race in Germany, the BBC announced they had ‘done a deal’ with Sky for 2012 onwards and would only be showing half the race season, live, on ‘regular’ television.
F1 fans who want to watch the whole season, live, will be forced to line the pockets of the Murdoch empire.
It seems the news, when it was announced, was just as much of a surprise to the BBC team, who present each race, as it was to Joe Public. A lovely way for them to find out that their livelihoods were in jeopardy.
Despite the announcement, and the adverse public attention it attracted, Jake, Martin and their buddies behaved impeccably throughout the weekend. There were no public tantrums, no snide remarks. There was a refreshing transparency from them that is rarely seen in the modern-day media. Watching them over that weekend, during the various broadcasts from the Germany Grand Prix, I could feel stirrings of the old British spirit – it was difficult not to admire the way they were handling an unpleasant situation.
And what about the fans? Well, there have been petitions, blog posts, indignant tweets and I’m sure there is probably a Facebook page lurking somewhere – all condemning the BBC and bemoaning the loss of, what is for many, an exciting and compelling sports fixture. I jumped on that same bandwagon for a while. I pay a licence fee for the BBC/television service every year and the Grand Prix series is the only thing I watch. I have even given up on the news, disgusted at the standard of ‘journalism’ employed. I confess to feelings of indignation – I was more than a little cross!
Of course, the BBC has brought about such violent opposition simply because it has shaken up the televising of F1. Viewer numbers have increased simply because of the good job the presenters do. F1 has become available to everyone – even though it is probably the most elitist of sports. If the BBC productions had been crap, I don’t suppose for a moment that anyone would have been bothered.
Of course the other spike in the whole sorry tale was the association with the Murdoch business stable. It has been hard to avoid the media coverage of their dirty deeds and I’m sure I am not alone in not wanting to send a single penny in Mr Murdoch’s direction – even if that means there is an element of noses being cut off to spite faces.
And my point is?
A lot of people feel hurt, let down and resentful because of a perceived loss (the reality is that all races will still be available to watch on the BBC it’s just that some of them won’t be broadcast live) and the whole situation reminds me of a client and a spot she got herself into.
As a sole trader my client was her business. Such was the excellence of her services demand increased and outstripped what she could supply in the same 168 hours a week we all have. So, she began to outsource some of the work – it was either that or turn business away. Immediately there was a client backlash. Her customers wanted her and her work – not the product of an anonymous contractor. The relationships she had worked so hard to create came back to bite her. Hard.
I know many of the readers of this blog are solo entrepreneurs and writers and I am wondering how you manage the expectation of your clients? How you separate your business from yourself? How you avoid becoming a victim of your own success – just like the BBC did?