Profile: Philip Langsdale

Apr 22, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: Philip Langsdale, CEO of BBC Technology, a media and technology solutions firm that grew out of the British Broadcasting Co. The company provides broadcast, new media and media production technology services. The company is based in London and counts a U.K. staff of 1,200, with 60 staffers in three U.S. offices.
Background: Mr. Langsdale joined the BBC in 1998 as director of technology and recommended two years ago that the company establish a separate entity for outsourced technology needs. “I had been looking at outsourcing and concluded that with such strong skills in the BBC, we would be foolish in not selling them,” he said. The company launched last year from various components of the BBC’s internal technical operations with a six-year contract to service the BBC’s needs in broadcast engineering, the Internet and streaming media. In the United States, the company has helped DirecTV with facility automation and Fox Sports with media asset management.
Digital conversion: TV stations would be wise to look to U.K. successes as they make the difficult transition to digital, Mr. Langsdale said. “You can be successful when you offer a great variety of choice [through multicasting] rather than just focus on quality of transmission with hi-def,” he said. The U.S. market is increasingly focused on high-definition, but the U.K. experience teaches that consumers prefer more breadth of choice in programming he said.
A voracious market: At the National Association of Broadcasters convention, Mr. Langsdale predicted that the market for media technology service providers in North America and Western Europe will nearly triple to $27 billion within five years as new and traditional broadcasters and corporations increasingly need outsourced media technology services to transition to digital TV and add new services. The lion’s share of that market will go to the United States at $16 billion, almost quadrupling its level today, he said.
The 20 percent rule: BBC Technology operates according to its own 20 percent rule. When the company was formed, Mr. Langsdale proposed that it could offer the same services to the BBC at 20 percent less than what it was costing the BBC through internal divisions of the company. The cost savings come from more efficient use of assets, greater focus on the bottom line and better buying power by operating as one unit rather than separate divisions in one company.