Jana Bennett to leave BBC Worldwide

Jana Bennett

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Jana Bennett, who is responsible for the pilot of the BBC's global iPlayer in 16 countries, will leave BBC Worldwide in the autumn.

Her departure will follow a restructure of BBC Worldwide - the BBC's commercial arm - which is reorganising its business from divisional to geographical lines.

The company is increasing its focus on international markets, where its headline UK programme sales grew by 8% to £1158 million in 2010/11, returning £182m to the BBC.

Start Quote

I am delighted to have grown the BBC's international channel portfolio ”

End Quote Jana Bennett President of Worldwide Networks, BBC Worldwide

Its current structure, primarily based around five global divisions, will cease to exist with Profit & Loss ownership and primary commercial accountability transferring to a number of market and country-facing business units.

The geographic focus will be managed by three new "areas of accountability":

  • Chief Sales Officer - responsible for global B2B customer relationships, including advertising sales and management of events such as tv exports fair BBC Worldwide Showcase.
  • Chief Brands Officer - responsible for the commercialisation of BBC Worldwide's channel and programme brands; global marketing activity; and business development of new brands.
  • Content - covers BBC Worldwide's content and IP acquisition activity, channels curation and editorial standards.

Under a chief digital officer, a Consumer Digital group will also be responsible for all features on BBC.com and other commercial websites; the Global BBC iPlayer; and global digital strategy for apps, games and video-on-demand.

Una Stubbs and Andrew Scott Shows like Sherlock, with Una Stubbs and Andrew Scott, were among BBC Worldwide's portfolio at its annual showcase
Growing portfolio

All four positions will report to BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith, who said the restructure aims to "capture untapped opportunities for high-quality British content and BBC-branded services across the world".

As president of Worldwide Networks, Bennett has overseen BBC Worldwide's 33 channels across 100 countries, which is the company's biggest revenue-generator.

She said she "fully supports" the changes, adding, "I am delighted to have grown the BBC's international channel portfolio at a time when global markets are so highly competitive and to have brought quality British programmes and events to new audiences around the world, both through our worldwide networks and the Global BBC iPlayer pilot."

BBC Worldwide

  • BBC-owned company has programme catalogue of 50,000 hours
  • Sells shows and formats made by the BBC and around 300 UK indies
  • Promotes the BBC's fifth public purpose of bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK
  • Hits include natural history shows and Top Gear; Sherlock and Doctor Who have been sold to approx. 200 countries each

Before joining BBC Worldwide in February 2011, Bennett was director of BBC Vision since 2002, in charge of the BBC's tv channels and leading the four commissioning teams in drama, comedy, entertainment and knowledge.

She joined the BBC in 1979 as a news trainee and was appointed editor of Horizon in 1990, eventually becoming the first woman to lead BBC Science.

In 2000 she was awarded an OBE for services to science broadcasting.

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