The Times reports that of the estimated 400,000 people who heard the BBC Radio 2 segment of Brand and Ross leaving lewd messages on Andrew Sachs’ answer phone only two saw fit to complain to the BBC, one of them Sachs himself. But the story gained momentum after it was picked up in the weekend newspapers. The BBC today registered its 30,000th complaint.
It shows you don’t need Web 2.0 to do viral. But certainly you need YouTube to make it global and to let the complainers go out of their way to hear what they loathe more than once.
If this had been designed to win the ratings war, it would have been a good stunt. That’s weird, perhaps. Yet Ross and Brand were unkown in Germany until this happened. Today they were one of the major items in the German online tabloid.
Nobody can accuse the BBC of being boring anymore. Its image is shifting on a global scale as it competes for viewers with the Web and the rest. It is not pretty. It is hardly pleasant, but it is what’s happening if we like it or not. Watch this space.