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Indies do more for BBC

The BBC's factual and learning team is downsizing. The cuts announced in May affecting 37 producer posts won't impact overall spending on factual, however, as more of the department's budget is being dedicated to independent doc commissions.
May 1, 2004

The BBC’s factual and learning team is downsizing. The cuts announced in May affecting 37 producer posts won’t impact overall spending on factual, however, as more of the department’s budget is being dedicated to independent doc commissions.

The boost in indie commissions is a good sign for UK doc-makers, but the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (pact) argues the BBC should go further. ‘At the moment, independent production companies only contribute about seven percent of the bbc’s factual programming,’ says pact ceo John McVay. In a submission to a government review of the bbc’s charter, the UK trade group wants the Beeb to meet a minimum level of 25% of total hours and budgets. While the 2003/04 annual report is not yet out, stats from the previous year point to more indie greenlights. In 2002/03 the bbc had first window rights to 1,528 hours of indie commissions at a cost of £320 million (us$562 million), up from 1,040 hours at £257 million ($450 million) the year before.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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