Category : BBC
Date : 30.04.2004
new digital television and radio services are delivering distinctive
and original public service content to UK audiences and are on track
to meet all of the conditions of their approvals, according to submissions
made to the Secretary of State in a review of the services beginning
From the success of Little Britain to the critical acclaim
of The Alan Clark Diaries, from the top performing children's channel
CBeebies to award-winning radio stations BBC 7 and the Asian Network,
the new channels and networks are already making a critical and audience
impact, with a track record for new talent and innovative new formats.
An independent assessment also published today suggests
that the new services may have been responsible for bringing as many
as one million new households to digital TV and have made a positive
impact on the radio and TV markets in the UK.
The findings were part of the BBC's submission to the
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who, today, launched
a review of the BBC's new digital services - four TV channels (BBC THREE,
BBC FOUR, The CBBC Channel and CBeebies) and the digital radio networks
(1Xtra, 6 Music, BBC 7, the Asian Network and Five Live Sports Extra).
The independent assessment goes on to show that the
new digital services have provided something new and distinctive to
UK audiences, have had a largely positive impact on the market and have
extended the reach of public service broadcasting to a wider audience.
The assessment - carried out by Oliver & Ohlbaum
Associates Ltd on behalf of the BBC - also demonstrates the BBC's strong
commitment to investing in original UK programming on its new TV digital
This investment of £150m is more than the total
sum spent by the other 140 basic and free-to-air thematic channels in
the UK added together (excluding the news and home shopping channels).
A large proportion has been invested in new talent and
in the UK's independent production sector.
The assessment also shows that BBC digital radio stations
are playing a vital role in driving digital penetration and have had
an "unambiguously positive" impact on the commercial sector.
They have provided programming that is distinct from
commercial offerings and existing BBC stations, and have supported UK
producers, presenters and artists.
The key findings of the Oliver & Ohlbaum reports
That there is "strong evidence to suggest that the four
new BBC TV digital services have played an important role in driving
the uptake of Freeview" and that "the BBC services may have
added one million homes to overall digital take-up over the period"
That "each BBC TV service is offering something distinctive
to UK multi-channel audiences when compared with other thematic channels
- and often to a distinct demographic"
That the financial impact of the TV services on the advertising
revenues of other services has been modest, with a range of £4m
to £10m annual negative impact less than 2.5% of revenues
of thematic channels and less than 0.2% of that of mainstream commercial
That the impact on the subscription fee revenue of thematic channels
has probably been limited, since the BBC services have largely driven
the take up of Freeview, which has been additional to, rather than a
substitution for, the take up of subscription packages
The BBC's digital radio networks provide programming that is
distinct from both commercial offerings and existing BBC stations
BBC digital radio networks are increasingly cited by DAB purchasers
as the key reason to buy with BBC 7, Five Live Sports Extra and 6 Music
being particularly popular
The Asian Network and 1Xtra have succeeded in reaching previously
The report also shows that the new services have made
a significant contribution to the UK production base.
BBC THREE and BBC FOUR alone have commissioned work
from more than 100 independent producers more than half of whom
have never made programmes for the BBC before.
And the digital radio networks have helped to bring
new production talent and presenters into mainstream radio and promoted
UK music and new live performances.
In its submissions to the Secretary of State, the BBC
has given its own assessment of the channels' performance against the
consents they were given and how they align with the public purposes
of the organisation.
The BBC believes it has fulfilled all of the general
conditions which include:
The channels have largely met all of the specific conditions,
with the exception of a small number of the commitments made by CBeebies
and the CBBC channel but these are on course and will be delivered by
the end of this financial year
The performance against commitments and conditions have been
closely monitored by the BBC Governors
They have achieved high general standards for the services of
content, quality and integrity
The BBC has undertaken vigorous campaigns to promote the uptake
of digital radio and has worked in partnership with commercial radio
and the Digital Radio Development Bureau to drive digital penetration
The digital radio stations offer more for ethnic minority audiences,
better use of the BBC archive and greater value from sports rights
Each service has stimulated, supported and reflected the diversity
of cultural activity in the UK, through programming that reflects and
involves the UK's multicultural society
The television channels' offerings have been extended through
online and interactivity and the best of them have been showcased on
BBC ONE and BBC TWO.
The submission also outlines how the new services reflect
the distinctive public purpose that underpins all BBC output. In
by augmenting the breadth of news coverage for children, young
adults and people interested in global affairs, and supporting social
action campaigns, they support active and informed citizenship
by investing in and nurturing new British talent in comedy, drama,
entertainment, animation and music from around the UK; by developing
on and off screen talent from a diverse range of ethnic, geographic
and social backgrounds and across a range of ages; by extending the
volume and diversity of arts coverage; by building links with major
cultural institutions; by celebrating cultural and religious festivals;
they enrich the cultural life of the nation
by making learning the core of the two children's channels; by
using factual, drama, and current affairs as platforms for education
on BBC THREE; by building BBC FOUR around arts, science, history and
ideas, they offer educational opportunities for all
by bringing together communities of interest on and off line
- children, parents and carers, lovers of music, or literature or film,
they help to make the UK a more inclusive society.
Notes to Editors and Picture Editors
The review of the BBC's digital TV and Radio services
announced today was built into the approvals process for all of the
BBC's new services by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
The BBC's submissions to the Secretary of State can
be seen on the DCMS
Hard copies are available - for journalists - from the
BBC Press Office.
Approval for the all of the television and radio services,
except BBC THREE, was given by the Secretary of State on 13 September
Approval for BBC THREE was given on 17 September 2002.
The BBC's new services were launched as follows:
CBBC and CBeebies on 11 February 2002
BBC FOUR on 2 March 2002
BBC THREE on 9 February 2003
BBC 7 on 15 December 2002
6 Music on 11 March 2002
1Xtra on 16 August 2002
the Asian Network on 28 October 2002
Five Live Sports Extra 2 February 2002.
Photographs relating to each of the new services are
available on the BBC
Picture Publicity website.