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The WoCC

The WoCC is the part of our commissioning slate open to competition from all suppliers.

We have introduced the WoCC to ensure that the best ideas are commissioned for our audiences irrespective of who makes the programmes. It ensures a level playing field between all suppliers.

We make no planning assumptions about whether titles in the WoCC are produced by in-house or independent producers. 

How Big is The WoCC? 

Overall, the WoCC is 25% of our total programme needs and represents about £250m of our business.

In some genres it is higher than others.

This 25% is over and above our commitments to in-house production and the 25% guaranteed to the independent sector.  

These are the starting positions for the size of the WoCC by genre for 2013 / 2014

GenreHoursValue (in £millions)
Drama10773
Comedy4118
Entertainment19451
Knowledge43461
Daytime49426
Children's14021

These figures will fluctuate throughout the year as the Channel and Genre slates change in response to new commissions, audience preferences, talent availability and production schedules. Each of these things can trigger a remix of the slate, either between or within a genre, so that the best ideas can be commissioned, and our target commitments met.

Each genre’s development priorities can be found on the commissioning genre pages.    

In-House Commitments:

From 2007, each genre will have a guaranteed level of in-house output.

The guarantees vary from genre to genre ensuring that the BBC sustains a production base to deliver its public service commitments.

Overall, the in-house guarantee makes up 50% of our output.

Independent Commitments:

The independent quota remains legally binding on the BBC - written into the Communications Act, and into the BBC's "agreement" with the government.

We are committed to treating the 25% as a floor, and not a ceiling.

In 2011, the BBC commissioned in 37% of eligible hours from the qualifying independents and 42% from the independent sector as a whole.

Pitching for the WoCC:

Any supplier (independent or in-house) can compete for commissions in the WoCC. This includes independent companies who do not qualify for the independent quota.

All WoCC commissions will be won only on the strength of the submitted ideas (and not on the order they are submitted).

To ensure the system is fair, there will be a wide range of programming available in the WoCC across each genre, at a wide range of prices.

In order to meet our overall targets for programming from the nations and regions, we will need to plan for some of the WoCC to be commissioned from producers outside London - but these could either be from regionally based independents or from regional BBC production centres.

We have now updated our Development priorities to indicate which opportunities sit in the WoCC, the Independent quota or the in-house guarantee.

How the WoCC works in practice:

BBC Television has an annual planning process. This takes the channel and genre strategies and builds them into a detailed plan, or 'shopping list', of what kind of programming we are looking for, at what price, in each TX slot.

Genres and channels agree which series they want to bring back, and then invite ideas for the remaining slots.

Quotas and targets are overlaid on this plan to make sure we know how we are going to meet our commitments.

At this stage we would have an initial idea of which programmes would make up the Independent Quota, the In-House Guarantee and the WoCC: ensuring a range of programming, prices and locations from each.

However, the plan will evolve as the commissioning landscape changes, for a variety of reasons:

  • The overall spend and hours in a genre may change if channel strategy changes e.g. If a channel decided to play Drama rather than Entertainment in a particular slot or vice versa.
  • The genre strategy may evolve across a year as audience reaction to programmes comes through.
  • As commissions are confirmed, the finances or quota requirements of the remaining slots may need to be re-balanced.
  • Commissioned projects may need to move delivery dates because of talent availability, production requirements etc. Where this involves moving into a different financial year this will affect the balance of the original plan, and mean it needs to be re-assessed.
  • Opportunities for similar programmes often exist across more than one supply category. If, for example, an idea is being developed for a slot in the Independent Quota and then that slot is commissioned, the idea may then move to compete for a space for similar programmes in the WoCC.

The slate management teams in each genre respond to these changes, and constantly re-iterate the plan based on latest information, to ensure that budgets, quotas and targets are met.

This may mean that the precise make-up of the WoCC is moving at the margins in most genres over time. For these reasons, it is often not possible to confirm the supply category until the end of the financial year.

If there are any significant shifts as to what is available in the WoCC these would be communicated through briefings or in our development priorities on this site. However, most genres would be commissioning across more than one year at a time, which gives them greater flexibility.

Our development priorities are updated three times a year and indicate in which supply category opportunities exist.

Review Processes:

Every two years, the BBC Trust will review whether the operation of the WoCC, (and the structure and processes that underpin it), are delivering a commissioning level playing-field.

Ofcom will also have an indirect interest in the operation of the WoCC - the requirement for the BBC to commission a "range and diversity" of independent production applies to all of the BBC's independent commissioning - not just the 25% minimum required by law.

Separation of Commissioning and Production:

Genre commissioners are located in a single 'Commissioning Centre' in BBC Broadcasting House.

The commissioning area is therefore distinct and separate from in-house production.

e-Commissioning - registering and submitting proposals
The latest genre development briefs and showreels.
The BBC's business and production guide for independents

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