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BBC "misled" MPs over failed £100M Digital Media Initiative

The BBC's Digital Media Initiative (DMI) was killed off last month, resulting in accusations that the BBC misled MPs over the £100 million project.

The DMI, set up in 2008, aimed to update the BBC's production processes and make its content more easily available to staff in different locations. Development was initially subcontracted to Siemens, but recalled in 2009 after the partnership fell short of expectations.

Former BBC director general Mark Thompson told the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in February 2011, "There are many programmes that are already being made with DMI, and some have gone to air and are going to air with DMI already working."

However, it has now surfaced that the MPs "may have been misled" by the comments about the DMI, according a letter sent to the BBC Trust by Bill Garrett, a previous head of technology for BBC Vision.

Chair of the PAC Margaret Hodge, who cited the letter, said, "We were told there were bits of that system that were working, you were using and running programmes with them, and that wasn't true. That just wasn't true."

In an email sent at the time of DMI's closure, BBC director general Tony Hall wrote, "We believe it is better to close it now rather than waste more money trying to develop it further."

As a result of these accusations, Thompson has been recalled to explain his previous comments about the DMI in front of the committee.