Our objectives throughout the commissioning process are to be transparent about our content needs; give all suppliers equal access to clear information; and to commission openly and fairly from across our diverse supplier base.
BBC Television Commissioning is a collaboration between Channels and Genres.
The Channels decide the range and mix of programmes they need for their audiences. The Genres look for individual ideas to meet those needs, and make sure they are reflecting the full range of subjects and issues within their genre across all of our channels.
To get a programme commissioned it has to work for both the Channel and the Genre.
The genre controller or commissioning editor is the single point of commission for both independent and in-house producers.They talk to the channel controllers before making their decision, to ensure content meets the strategy set by the channels.
The Channels and Genres have biannual Performance Review meetings to reflect on how programmes are performing, what's been commissioned, the strength of the competition and how that shapes future commissioning plans. Those meetings provide the basis of the development priorities and you can find the latest information about what the Channel and Genres are looking for in our What we want section.
We hold a number of briefings for our suppliers throughout the year at different venues around the country. At these briefings, we discuss our current commissioning needs.
Programmes within strands are commissioned by the strand editor. The genre commissioner is responsible for the commissioning of the strand itself.
Programmes for local services in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions are submitted and commissioned locally.
To complement its original commissioned content, the BBC aims to bring the best international movies and programmes to its audiences and acquired programming is a significant and highly valued part of our output.
Our Programme Acquisition team buys and manages acquired fiction - series, feature films and TV movies - for transmission on the BBC's television channels. Recent series include Rubicon, Nurse Jackie and Wallander (Swedish version) and recent films range from Up to The White Ribbon.
Factual genres are responsible for their own acquired programmes. For example, Entertainment acquires the Grammys every year and Knowledge acquires factual programmes targeted to specific commissioning priorities.
The Terms of Trade set out the standard terms of business offered to all independent producers. The Code of Practice is there so that relations between the BBC and independent producers are fair and transparent. All the relevant information is in this section under Business Requirements.
We have a number of quotas and targets which relate to who makes our content, what the content is about and where the content is made.
Some of these commitments are legal requirements which are monitored by OfCom and some our targets which we have agreed with the BBC Trust. The quotas and targets can be broken down into the following categories:
More detail about these can be found in our Statement of Operation.
A: We have the statutory quota commitment to ensure that 25% of our qualifying transmission hours are independently produced and that the profile of the 25% reflects the wide range and diversity of our programming. The 25% quota is applied across all of the television channels and services combined. From 2005 there are also separate 25% quotas for BBC ONE and BBC TWO.
A: Some Independent Companies are ruled out of consideration in the calculation of the BBC achievement of the 25% quota because they are not deemed to be truly independent of Broadcasters.
The Broadcasting Act states that to be a Qualifying Independent, a Company must not:
a) be an employee of a broadcaster
b) have a shareholding greater than 25% in a broadcaster (unless the producer is based in the EEA and the broadcaster in which it has a shareholding is outside the EEA)
c) be the subject of a shareholding by a single UK broadcaster of more than 25% or by several UK broadcasters of more than 50%
d) be required by the contract to use the production facilities of the broadcaster or not to use the production facilities of some other broadcaster
A: The BBC each year agrees the so called 'Tier 2' quotas with Ofcom. These quotas cover the following five topics:
the independent production quota
the regional production quota (i.e. concerning network programmes made outside the M25)
the levels of original production on each channel
the levels of news and current affairs on BBC ONE and BBC TWO
the levels and type of regional programming across BBC ONE and BBC TWO (i.e. local programming)
The BBC, ahead of launching the digital services, agreed a number of commitments for each channel with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
In accordance with the Television Without Frontiers Directive the BBC is also required to ensure that the majority of its output is European and that at least 10% is produced by European independents.
The BBC also publishes a number of commitments regarding Television output in its annual Statement of Programme Policy. These commitments include minimum levels of output for key genres on each channel.
All of these quotas and commitments are explained in more detail in the BBC's Statement of Programme Policy).
The BBC has also set ourselves internal minimum targets for network programmes from the regions of England (i.e. including production in Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester) and from the Nations (i.e. production in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
These commitments can be met by in-house or independent programmes. We make no pre-judgements on how the quotas or targets will be delivered. Primarily it is the quality of ideas that determines whether or not a proposal is commissioned.
A: The BBC is committed to producing programmes for the network from the English Regions and the Nations (i.e. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). The agreed quotas for 2005 are that at least 30% of the qualifying spend and 25% of the qualifying hours are produced from outside London (i.e. using the M25 as the defined boundary).
A: Ofcom has agreed the definitions of a regional production. In order to count towards the Regional Production quota, relevant productions must meet two out of the following three criteria:
(a) the production company must have a substantive business and production based outside the M25. A base will be taken to be substantive if it is the usual place of employment of executives managing the regional business, of senior personnel involved in the production in question, and of senior personnel involved in seeking programme commissions;
(b) at least 70% of the production budget (excluding the cost of on-screen talent, archive material and copyright costs) must be spent in the UK outside the M25; and
(c) at least 50% of the production talent (i.e. not on-screen talent) by cost must have their usual place of employment in the UK outside the M25. Ofcom have stipulated that freelancers without a usual place of employment outside the M25 will count for this purpose if they live outside the M25.
It is the responsibility of regional productions to ensure that they maintain adequate records regarding the above criteria as they may be subject to audit.
You can read more about the BBC's targets and quotas on the statement of operation page.
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