Trust seeks views on BBC's businesses

Abbey and Aljaz performing the Quickstep BBC Worldwide has sold the Strictly Come Dancing format to 50 countries

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The BBC Trust is inviting views on the running of the corporation's commercial services, including the BBC Worldwide company.

It is seeking feedback on the separation between publicly-funded BBC activity, e.g. British programmes, and the corporation's commercial aspects, such as Worldwide's export of shows, after publishing a draft remit on Wednesday.

The Trust will also examine:

  • The conduct of commercial operations, adding that they should focus on securing profits from BBC content
  • How profits are returned to services paid for by licence fee payers, i.e. through reinvesting dividends
  • Commercial efficiency

BBC trustee Suzanna Taverne said the governing body wanted to ensure that "commercial activity is always appropriate and doesn't damage the BBC or the wider market".

She added that the BBC's businesses had "an important role in both upfront investment and delivering profits back into programmes for UK audiences".

The Trust will review the BBC's compliance with the finalised framework every five years.

Selling shows

BBC Worldwide is the main commercial arm of the corporation, selling programmes and formats, such as Strictly Come Dancing, abroad. It returned £156 million to the BBC in 2012/13.

The corporation's commercial operations also include its Global News arm, which incorporates BBC World TV and the international-facing news website, and BBC Studios and Post Production.

Business plans are the responsibility of the BBC executive board, who will report quarterly to the Trust. The latter must approve any significant proposal.

Wednesday's draft is the first time that details on the oversight of the BBC's commercial operations have been published in one public document, having previously been outlined in various statements.

The framework is supposed to replicate the remits of BBC services, such as Radio 2.

The final document will be published later this year after the consultation ends in September. More details can be found here.

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