Jana Bennett to leave BBC Worldwide
Jana Bennett, President of Worldwide Networks and the Global BBC iPlayer, has decided to leave BBC Worldwide in late autumn following implementation of a major reorganisation of the company, as BBC Worldwide reconfigures the business from divisional to geographic lines. As a result, P&L ownership will move from the existing global divisions to a number of market and country facing business units. (For further details of the reorganisation click here http://bbc.in/LnCZ3R
Jana said: “My time at BBC Worldwide has been exciting and stimulating. 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.
“Today's announcement about the new organisation of BBC Worldwide, with regions in future holding P&L responsibility, is an important step in securing the future growth of BBC Worldwide enabling it to compete more effectively in the global market and deliver increasing returns to the BBC. I was pleased to have played a significant role in the organisational design process and fully support the changes under John Smith's leadership. However with the move of P&L responsibility under the new structure I feel this is a good moment for me to work outside BBC Worldwide.”
Since becoming President of Worldwide Networks, Jana has overseen the channels business, which is the biggest revenue generator for BBC Worldwide and will report further strong growth for the year just ended. She has overseen the introduction of 13 channel services, from New Zealand to Thailand, as well as the launch of channels into new markets for the first time, including Brazil and Taiwan. She has pioneered global programming events across BBC Worldwide’s own channels, with broadcasts such as the Royal Wedding, Sport Relief, as well as the London Calling season (timed to coincide with Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics), playing out across four continents simultaneously.
Jana, is responsible for BBC Worldwide’s 33 owned and operated thematic channels across 100 countries in EMEA, Australasia, Asia and Latin America. Jana is also responsible for the Global BBC iPlayer which launched as a pilot in July 2011 and is now in 16 countries. She also has financial responsibility for BBC Worldwide’s 50% interest in UKTV, the owner of 10 branded channels in the UK; and executive responsibility for BBC Worldwide’s business development strategy across all its business in Latin America.
Jana will remain with BBC Worldwide until late autumn, in order to effect a full handover of her responsibilities and to complete a number of major commercial deals that John Smith, BBC Worldwide CEO, has asked her to oversee.
John Smith said: “Jana has made a hugely positive contribution to BBC Worldwide in her time here. She deserves our gratitude, and leaves us a great legacy to build on. She has extended our channels internationally, driven schedule changes which have translated into ratings and advertising uplifts, and moved forward our digital offer across several platforms. She has also secured some important market entries in Latin America, Asia and EMEA, which will form the cornerstone of our future business there. I am sorry to lose someone of her calibre, as we refocus our business on regional opportunities, but I am grateful she will remain with us for a time to deliver a number of strategically important projects across the world.”
Mark Thompson, BBC Director-General and Chairman of BBC Worldwide, said: “The BBC has been fortunate to benefit from Jana’s talents in many ways. As a Director of Television, and later Director of Vision, she was second to none, with a record that speaks for itself in both reach and appreciation across the many services she was responsible for. In that role, she brought to our screens much loved shows from Strictly Come Dancing, the new Doctor Who and Planet Earth as well as comedies like The Thick of It and Miranda and boosted our specialist factual output in science, arts and culture. Over the past decade, she has played an important role in steering the BBC into the digital age, building the new channel portfolio with BBC Three and Four and our much loved children's channels. She's expanded the BBC's global audience at BBC Worldwide as well. She has been a valued member of our BBC Executive and Worldwide Boards and the UKTV Board. She leaves with our thanks for all she has done, and our affection for the principled and visionary colleague she has been.”
Jana added: “After more than 10 years with BBC Television both within the UK and internationally, there is much here that I will miss. I will leave with huge pride in what the Corporation stands for, both here and abroad. I would like to thank the talented and dedicated teams I have worked with and wish all the best to an exceptional organisation while I look forward to bringing my experience to another area of international media.”
For more information, please contact:
Tessa Matchett on 07712 077966
Esther Thompson on 0208 433 2506
NOTES TO EDITORS BBC Worldwide Limited is the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The company exists to maximise the value of the BBC’s assets for the benefit of the licence fee payer and invest in public service programming in return for rights. The company has five core businesses: Channels, Content & Production, Sales & Distribution, Consumer Products and Brands, Consumers & New Ventures, with digital ventures incorporated into each business area. In 2010/11, BBC Worldwide generated profits of £160 million on sales of £1158 million and returned £182m to the BBC. For more detailed performance information please see our Annual Review website: http://www.bbcworldwide.com/annualreview
Jana's programme-making credentials include Editor of Horizon and Head of BBC Science, where commissions included Walking with Dinosaurs and The Human Body. She was awarded an OBE in 2000 for services to science broadcasting. From 1999 to 2002 she was Executive Vice President and General Manager at Discovery Communications in the USA and grew TLC to become a top 10 US pay TV channel.
She returned to the BBC in 2002 as Director of Television (later Director of Vision). As Director of Television between 2002 and 2006 Jana led the BBC’s digital television strategy. During her tenure, BBC television reached 85 percent of the British population each week, with a 38 percent share of all TV viewing. BBC one was acknowledged at the “UK’s favourite channel”, whilst BBC HD was recognised as the “best quality HD channel”. CBeebies and CBBC were the most popular channels for pre-school and 6-12 year olds respectively while BBC Three became a home for new UK comedy and drama, and hard hitting documentaries such as 'Our War” while BBC Four established itself as a high quality, innovative cultural channel.
Under Jana, BBC Television launched a raft of much-loved programmes. She and her commissioning team relaunched Doctor Who in 2004 as part of a new BBC one drama strategy. She brought The Apprentice to the BBC, and Strictly Come Dancing was invented and launched by her entertainment team and rolled out across the world as Dancing with the Stars; one of the world’s most successful entertainment formats. She spearheaded factual seasons such as Darwin and Year of Science, Poetry and the Cultural Olympics programmes.
As Director, BBC Vision she helped turn BBC Television into a fully multi-platform division, supporting iPlayer and digital media production. During this time the BBC also introduced groundbreaking interactive television services (BBC Red Button, BBCi), BBC’s HD channels, multi-platform content and laid out the future archive strategy. During her time at the BBC, she served on the BBC Executive Board, UKTV Board and Worldwide Executive and as a Non-executive Director on the BBC Worldwide Board.
Today's announcement about the new organisation of BBC Worldwide, with regions in future holding P&L responsibility, is an important step in securing the future growth of BBC Worldwide enabling it to compete more effectively in the global market and deliver increasing returns to the BBC."