UK pubcaster the BBC is launching an independent production division named BBC Studios that will allow in-house producers to create programming for rival networks, and potentially reduce production quotas.
BBC director-general Tony Hall (pictured) outlined his “compete or compare” policy last July in an attempt to level the playing field between BBC producers and independent producers, and encouraged scrapping production quotas in order to boost open competition.
Currently, 25% of the BBC’s TV production comes from independent producers; 50% is from in-house producers; and 25% is open to both, through what is known as the Window of Creative Competition (WoCC).
BBC Studios is to be created within six to 12 months, and will be independent of BBC Television, “operating at arms-length from the public service.” In addition, the 50% quota for in-house producers could potentially be reduced if – according to a statement – a “genuinely level playing field” is created. Through the initiative, BBC Studios programming will also be offered to both domestic and international broadcasters.
The competitive model will be subject to discussions with the BBC Trust and will also be part of the process of revising the pubcaster’s charter with the government. A head for the division is to report directly to Hall and sit on the BBC Executive Team. The pubcaster will begin recruiting for the position shortly.
In a statement regarding BBC Studios, Hall said, “One only has to look at the incredible richness and range of the current BBC Production portfolio, from a reinvigorated East Enders to world leading natural history, shows like Strictly [Come Dancing] 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.”
The executive added: “A successful BBC Production is vital to the BBC’s future. It provides a source of well-loved programs 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.”
With files from Kevin Ritchie