The BBC is to create BBC Studios, a new production division independent of BBC Television, moving production of shows including Doctor Who and Mrs. Brown’s Boys. The corporation has confirmed that some genres like children’s and sport, which have different commissioning and production models and relationships to the market, would not be included in this part of the proposal.
The proposals were first unveiled last year as part of a ‘compete and compare’ strategy to open up the corporation to more competition and using external benchmarks and comparisons, designed to drive up standards drive down costs.
The leader of this division will report directly to the director general Tony Hall, and sit on the BBC executive team. Recruitment for the post will begin shortly, the BBC has confirmed, and the new division will be established in the next six to 12 months.
“One only has to look at the incredible richness and range of the current BBC production portfolio, from a reinvigorated EastEnders to world leading natural history, shows like Strictly that bring the nation together, award-winning comedy and drama and of course our music and arts programming – a range no other studio can match – to understand how important it is that we ensure BBC production continues to flourish creatively in the future,” commented Hall.
Moving to a competitive model would be subject to discussions with the BBC Trust and will be part of the process of renewing the BBC’s charter with the government. Currently there is a guarantee that 50 per cent of BBC programmes are made by in-house production, and in a statement the BBC commented: ‘Providing we create a genuinely level playing field, we would propose removing this guarantee if we take the second step.’
“A successful BBC production is vital to the BBC’s future,” added Hall. “It provides a source of well-loved programmes and enables us to meet our public service aims. I want BBC Studios to play a great part in this new golden age of broadcasting. This is important. We want to get it right. We will get it right. And we’ll take our time to ensure we do just that.”