Date: 27.09.2012Last updated: 27.09.2012 at 13.05

Category: BBC Worldwide

BBC Worldwide Channels today laid out its strategy for creating more high quality original programmes for its international portfolio of channels.

  • New strategy for commissioning original content revealed, with the aim of reaching 100 hours in 2014
  • Twin track strategy will see orders for both Global and Local programme formats
  • Tracy Forsyth, VP Commissioning, seeking fully funded projects, as well as co-productions with BBC in-house teams and independent producers

In 2012, the business is aiming for a threefold increase in the number of original hours ordered for BBC Knowledge, BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle and UKTV (BBC Worldwide’s general entertainment channel in Australia and New Zealand). The roadmap developed by Tracy Forsyth, Vice President of Commissioning, will see the business commissioning 100 hours a year by 2014 as the international portfolio diversifies from a largely acquisitions-based content pipeline.

Tracy Forsyth will have a twin track strategy for original programming; firstly to create Global productions which will run in all markets (EMEA, Asia, India, Latin America and Australia & New Zealand), and secondly, Local commissions targeting individual markets. Underlining the brief to producers is a requirement to match the quality of shows acquired from the BBC for BBC Worldwide’s international audiences. BBC Worldwide Channels is seeking to make a long term investment in high volume formats with the potential to run up to 50 episodes. Tracy Forsyth’s brief to producers includes factual entertainment formats with strong British connectivity, which might be through talent, subject matter, or irreverent wit and humour, but still with a tangible takeaway for the audience.

BBC Worldwide Channels will be looking to fully fund and also co-produce projects, working with the independent production community as well as the BBC’s in-house production teams. In addition to ordering news shows from the BBC, Tracy Forsyth will commission international versions of some of the Corporation’s flagship shows, tailored for audiences outside the UK. Recent examples include Sport Relief Goes Global, a four hour extravaganza of comedy and entertainment hosted by Richard Hammond and Amanda Byram, and wildlife broadcast Planet Earth Live which was repackaged for viewers outside the UK on BBC Knowledge and BBC HD in May this year.

The commissioning strategy being implemented is part of Jana Bennett’s long term vision for the Channels business which she outlined in June 2011, shortly after her arrival as President BBC Worldwide Networks and Global BBC iPlayer, and builds on work begun David Weiland, SVP Programming and TV Channels to increase the number of originations for BBC Worldwide’s international audiences.

Jana Bennett, President, Worldwide Networks and Global BBC iPlayer, said: “I believe the addition of original commissions can play a key part to the ongoing success of our international portfolio of BBC-branded channels. We have already premiered a number of originations to a great reception from our audience and I'd like to build on this.”

Tracy Forsyth, VP Commissioning, said, “Since joining the business in January this year, I’ve been working with the regional programming teams within BBC Worldwide to clearly identify the gaps in our schedules that can’t be filled from our acquisitions pipeline. The new shows I am ordering will give the viewers of our BBC-branded channels around the world more of the quality British content and talent they love, in their first run, and tailor-made to suit their tastes.”

She added, “I look forward to working with independent producers as well as the BBC’s in-house teams to create a brand new slate of shows that will celebrate the best of British talent and creativity, and inform, educate and entertain audiences around the world.”

In 2011, BBC Worldwide Channels aired over 20 hours of original programming including Year of Adventures starring Ben Fogle for global audiences of BBC Knowledge, series one of Come Dine With Me South Africa for BBC Entertainment in that market, and Some Say Love, a comedy pilot for UKTV in Australia and New Zealand.

Harriet Otoo, Communications, BBC Worldwide Channels, Tel: +44 (0)208 433 2603, email: Harriet.Otoo@bbc.com

I believe the addition of original commissions can play a key part to the ongoing success of our international portfolio of BBC-branded channels."

Jana Bennett, President, Worldwide Networks and Global BBC iPlayer

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