Friday 23 August 2019

BBC boss hails ‘efficient’ merger of BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios

The broadcaster said the merger will help it face global competition.

BBC Broadcasting House
BBC Broadcasting House

By Francesca Gosling

BBC director general Tony Hall has hailed the merging of BBC Worldwide with the existing BBC Studios as a move that will make programming processes “simpler and more efficient”.

The corporation has announced that the two groups will come together to form one commercial entity under the BBC Studios title.

In a statement following the news, Lord Hall described the decision as crucial for the broadcaster’s future.

“In a fast-changing TV industry, securing the future success of the BBC is vital”, he said.

George Orwell statue

“Creating a single BBC Studios will bring the BBC in line with the industry, be simpler and more efficient. It will help ensure that licence fee payers in the UK continue to receive outstanding British programmes which reflect British lives, long into the future.

“It will also ensure the BBC can continue to play its crucial role in supporting the successful UK creative economy.”

The move will see the commercial activities carried out by BBC Worldwide, such as content financing, sales and commercial channels, brought into a single business plan and operating model with BBC Studios, the broadcaster’s main production arm.

The new BBC Studios will be led by CEO Tim Davie and chief creative officer Mark Linsey.

Davie said: “Creating one company, in line with market norms, is a natural step in this market.

“The new BBC Studios will be focused on the highest quality British content, underpinning our future financial return to licence fee payers.

“It will allow us to better serve customers, indie partners and the wider industry, resulting in world-class British productions for audiences in the UK and overseas.”

Blue Planet II

Linsey added: “Bringing BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide together will help secure the BBC’s future and guarantee our unrivalled creativity, risk-taking, quality and range.

“I am so proud of BBC Studios’ programmes – from huge hits like Blue Planet II and Strictly Come Dancing, to the extraordinary Drugsland and Murdered For Being Different on BBC Three, to EastEnders, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Our Girl, Carols From Kings, Antiques Roadshow, Countryfile and Horizon. We cater to every taste and this merger means that will continue for years to come.”

Both groups already work closely together on programmes such as Blue Planet II, which is produced by BBC Studios but is more than three quarters funded by BBC Worldwide and partners.

The move comes following statistics from Mediatique, which forecast that spending on British programming could fall in real terms by £500 million over the next decade, which the BBC has said could “pose a real risk to the volume and breadth of British content available”.

The broadcaster said that the new organisational structure will be better equipped to face increasing global competition for production and distribution by bringing “the BBC into line with the rest of the industry, integrating programme production, sales and distribution in a single entity”.

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