Every traditional media brand must make a choice when it ventures onto the web: whether to project its old self into this new venue, or to try to reinvent itself, attempt something novel and become 'web cool'.
Deftly done, either choice can work well, and I recently reviewed the technicolour Carlton web site as an example of the latter kind.
At www.bbc.co.uk on the other hand, the BBC has stuck to its traditional brand formula. And surprise! It works even better.
Rather than dabble in the web's latest presentational gimmickry like an amateur with finger paints, the BBC's web site is disarmingly straightforward. High on utility and low on flash, it puts the world's news in the foreground and its brand discreetly in the background.
Yes, the site solicits viewer interactivity with message boards and live chat sessions, but it never mistakes these for the main event. The BBC serves best as an authoritative broadcaster, not as a host for group gab. And the company's decision to create a mostly text site, despite its offline skills in audio and video, displays a canny respect for the new medium's technical limitations.
With its extensive coverage of UK and international news, business, lifestyle, weather and sports, the BBC site is well positioned to become Britain's primary online portal.