NYT’s new CEO: BBC’s Thompson is custodian and curator, not digital creator


Mark Thompson’s appointment as president and CEO of The New York Times Company is an eyebrow-raiser. But it may yet prove inspired. So who is Mark Thompson, and what will he bring to the Gray Lady?

1. A leader, not an innovator

Explaining its hiring decision, NYT Co. lauds Thompson’s digital savvy, crediting how he « developed innovative new products and generated new revenue streams on multiple platforms ». In fact, this seems to be the main reason for its recruitment.

The BBC is rightly respected for many of its online initiatives. But few close to it would recognise Thompson as the visionary who has kickstarted them.

BBC iPlayer, the multi-platform catch-up service that has popularised UK VOD, was formulated by then digital director Ashley Highfield, it was taken to the next level by refinements from online controller Anthony Rose.

Innovation at the corporation comes not from the top down but from throughout, and…

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