There's a revolution underway in the arts world. Organisations big and small are deploying digital technology to create lively communities way beyond their geographical location and to produce a new and wonderfully diverse generation of public service content. They are also marketing themselves more effectively than ever before. At The Media Festival Arts you'll hear from some of the most imaginative pioneers in this online world. They'll explain the levels on connectivity and engagement that they're achieving and the dynamic delivery of public value that is the result.
Peter Bazalgette, Deputy Chairman, English National Opera
Director General, BBC
Mark Thompson was appointed Director-General of the BBC on 21 May 2004 and took up his appointment four weeks later (22 June 2004).
He had been Chief Executive, Channel 4 (March 2002 to June 2004) and previously worked at the BBC for more than 20 years, becoming Director of Television in April 2000.
As Director-General, Mark is responsible for the BBC's services across television, radio and online and a global workforce of 25,000 people that provides over 400,000 hours of content each year.
Since 2004, Mark has re-shaped the BBC to meet the challenge of the digital age, ensuring that the BBC remains a leading innovator with the launch of services such as Freeview and BBC iPlayer. At the same time he has led the Corporation's biggest ever efficiencies programme, which has helped deliver a more disciplined BBC, sharply focused on investing more of the Licence Fee than ever before in creating distinctive and creative content for audiences across the UK.
He is committed to spreading the benefits of the BBC across the whole of the UK, spearheading the biggest ever initiative to support broadcasting outside London. The new, world-class base at MediaCity, Salford, will not only be the new home for the BBC in the North of England, but will also help foster a creative community together with other private and public organisations.
Under his leadership the BBC is also supporting the wider broadcasting, journalism and creative industries through initiatives such as Project Canvas and partnerships with organisations such as The British Museum.
During his time as Director-General, the BBC has also become more accountable to Licence Fee payers, making it one of the most transparent public organisations in the country.
Most recently Mark unveiled a major review of the BBC's strategy, focusing the licence fee on five central editorial priorities: the best journalism in the world; inspiring knowledge, music and culture; ambitious UK drama and comedy; outstanding children's content; and events that bring communities and the nation together.
"Even more so than today, we want the BBC of the future to put quality first; to do fewer things better; to guarantee access for all, not just to its own services but to the wider benefits of digital; to make the licence-fee work harder; and to set new boundaries for itself," Mark said in March 2010.
Following a public consultation and approval by the BBC Trust, the strategy will ensure that the BBC continues to be relevant and accountable to all audiences across the UK beyond 2012.
Mark joined the BBC in 1979 as a production trainee. He helped launch Watchdog in 1981 and Breakfast Time in 1983, before becoming an output editor on Newsnight in 1985. He was appointed Editor of the Nine O'Clock News in 1988 and Editor of Panorama in 1990.
As Controller of BBC Two from 1996 to 1998 he saw the channel hold its share of viewing against increased competition and win acclaim for its strong programming including Our Mutual Friend, The Royle Family and Storyville.
Mark was then appointed Director of National and Regional Broadcasting from 1999 to 2000, where he expanded the BBC's services in London and the South East, and oversaw the introduction of new programmes in response to devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In 2010 he will give the MacTaggart Lecture at the MediaGuardian International Television Festival, and is only the second television executive who has been invited to give the lecture twice.
Mark Thompson was educated at Stonyhurst College and Merton College, Oxford.