unveils plans to transform the BBC
The BBC's Director-General Mark Thompson today outlined a new vision for programmes
and content focused on 'excellence', plus radical plans for funding the ideas
and transforming the BBC into a simpler, more agile and creative digital broadcaster.
An initial 2,900 jobs could go and extra resource to
invest in programmes will also be released through new ways of working, productivity
gains, new technology and efficiencies, as well as overhead cuts.
target is an annual £320 million savings within three years, all of which
will be redirected into programme making.
Thompson told more than 27,000 staff, listening around the UK and the world, that
change was precipitated by digital technology, which is shifting audience expectations
and their relationship with the BBC through on demand, interactivity and personalisation.
Outlining a new programme strategy focused
on 'excellence' and more investment in journalism, drama, comedy, music, learning,
children's, sporting and national events and areas where the BBC has 'commanding
reputations', Mr Thompson said audiences still expected the BBC to "raise
its game" with ever better content.
was how the BBC would succeed in the digital world, he said.
emphasised that the debate around renewing the BBC's Charter also meant that the
BBC had to act now to seize the argument, answer its critics and show how it could
release resources to invest in ambitions outlined in its Charter Review manifesto
Building Public Value and the developing programme strategy.
vision for the future of the BBC has three parts: a bold new programme and content
strategy based above all around the idea of excellence; a transformation of the
BBC into a state-of-the art digital broadcaster; and an irreversible shift in
the culture of the BBC towards simplicity, opportunity and creativity.
should do what's right for a strong, independent BBC and its audiences in the
long term, not what's politically convenient now.
is an amazing creative prize for the BBC and our audiences but it's a prize
that comes at a price. To achieve all this, the BBC must undergo nothing short
"This is not a time
for introspection and endless debate. It's a moment for action.
discussion about the future level of the licence fee is bound to begin by asking
how much of the future we can afford to pay for ourselves by becoming more efficient."
He added that the final investment will depend on how much responsibility the
BBC is given to help build digital Britain: "Whichever
way you look at it, the investment needed will run in the many hundreds of millions
Four reviews have been looking
at the main issues since June, alongside a new programme strategy.
BBC's Governors have approved the overall strategy towards transformation and
They will consider final costs
and implementation plans for all recommendations in March, to ensure moves are
in licence payers' interests, before giving final approval.
Thompson moved to reassure staff who may be affected by job losses, outsourcing
or job moves out of London by emphasising: "The BBC has a reputation as a
fair and considerate employer.
not be walking away from our responsibilities or the redundancy terms we offer.
We will not abandon the annual pay round or walk away from the BBC's defined benefits
He said people would
have plenty of time to consider moves from a personal perspective and that comprehensive
relocation assistance would be available for those people whose work moves out
The relevant Unions will be consulted
throughout the process.
Current headline recommendations
"Audiences want us to
raise our game," said Mr Thompson.
want a BBC totally focused on excellence, which gives them more quality, more
ambition, more depth than they get from any other broadcaster.
look to us for the 'commanding reputations' of broadcasting. This is where the
greatest efforts and our biggest investment should go. This is the content that
will really stand out in the fragmented digital future."
Commanding reputations: News & Current Affairs; Comedy and Drama; Music
and music making; Knowledge building and Learning; Sporting and National Events;
Children's; Local and Regional services; New services like interactivity; Navigation
and media literacy.
Plus: original entertainment and programmes that are part of the national
conversation like Jonathan Ross and Have I Got News For You; ground-breaking new
features and format factual programmes.
Investment will be made in: original British drama and comedy across radio
and television; origination budgets for the successful CBBC and CBeebies channels;
BBC FOUR; Music, including a new pan BBC music strategy and the Alternative Proms
as a contemporary contrast to the classical festival; Specialist Factual and interactivity;
original journalism, enhanced news gathering and current affairs on BBC ONE, with
more money and slots for Panorama and enhanced presence in the Middle East and
across the Islamic world; sporting and national events; extending the impetus
behind documentaries and the Arts, especially on BBC ONE and TWO; more ambitious
content on Radio and in New Media.
But less: peaktime repeats on BBC ONE, derivative or formulaic programmes.
Value For Money Review
Three year savings target of £320 million % will vary from division
Professional Services, including
Finance, Property and Business Affairs, BBC People, Strategy & Distribution,
Policy & Legal, Marketing, Communications and Audiences.
in Professional services will be reduced by 25% (£57m). Divisional support
will also be reduced.
Total number of posts
affected = 2,500, half as redundancies and half outsourced... £68m
procurement and non headcount savings... £93m
efficiency savings in output areas - Radio & Music, TV, New Media, BBC News,
Nations & Regions... £79m
in cost-per-hour prices for commissions from all supply sources... £80m
(This includes DEC, F&L and Sport but excludes
Mr Thompson said: "Plans
will combine programme strategy aspirations, VFM savings and the impact of other
"This means net redundancies
may be less than a 15% savings target suggests.
want to invest in new content whilst also making productivity gains in existing
"It may mean fewer posts on existing
tasks, but new posts for new tasks.
we need to save before we can spend."
Mr Thompson said: "This
is about making sure audiences have access to the best programmes and content
in the years to come.
"There is a legitimate
case for giving greater and fairer access to independents but I passionately believe
a 50% quota would be a grave mistake.
production is one of the great glories of the BBC. It is a critical mass of talent
and training which is important to the whole of the UKs creative industries.
"As broadcasting fragments it's all the
more important that the BBC maintains a strong and confident in-house production
25% statutory independent production quota maintained in TV ensuring the
BBC 'comfortably exceeds' it every year
in-house production commissioning guarantee of 50% of non-news output
more creative decisions delegated to in-house leaders
executive producers able to plan more effectively
25% Window of Creative Competition for both in-house and the independents
Reduce in-house production capacity for TV from over 70% to 60% overall, ie 10%
over the minimum output deal
Averages will vary from genre to genre
In Factual & Learning this means just over 400 job losses
Simplify and improve the commissioning process, with equal access for both in-house
and external suppliers
In Radio extend the 10% voluntary independent quota to include Sport, radio
in the Nations and the new digital radio channels
A review of commissioning on Radio 4
Jenny Abramsky, Director of Radio & Music, will lead development of a new
pan BBC music strategy
In New Media a 25% quota for external production of online content and
services in line with Graf Report recommendations
The BBC will retain strength and depth across all genres and sufficient scale
to continue to help to train the industry.
Mr Thompson said: "Out
of London is a much bigger idea than creating a state of the art creative and
broadcast centre in Manchester.
in with all the themes in Building Public Value about re-connecting and embedding
the BBC in communities all over the UK.
will change our tone of voice as an organisation.
will open doors to new talent and new perspectives.
will win back trust in parts of the country which can currently feel quite alienated
from the BBC."
Manchester - a state of the art centre, populated by services relevant
in decades to come, with brilliant career and creative opportunities
Moves of real money and decision making power will redress lower spend per head
in the North than in London and develop a thriving creative community
Moves include: children's TV and Radio including two national children's networks,
CBBC and CBeebies; BBC Sport; Five Live and Five Live Sports Extra; New Media
and R&D; Formal Learning, including the Digital Curriculum
Create a Media Enterprise Zone in partnership with PACT, regional development
bodies and other broadcasters
Estimated number of staff moving = 1,800
Value of commissioning moving = £275m. Value of network production moving
Governors support the Manchester vision. It is a large scale investment and they
will give final sign off when the financial picture for the next Charter period,
including the licence fee, is clear
It is likely to be five years before any major moves take place
Peter Salmon will lead the Manchester initiative
Other moves - besides Manchester, network commissions from the Nations
will increase by 50% to 17% of overall network commissions
TV drama made outside London to increase from 30% to 50% during the next Charter
We will appoint a commissioner for Daytime in Birmingham, for Comedy and Entertainment
in Glasgow and part of Factual commissioning will be based in Bristol
We will pursue the vision of more local TV and radio, Open Centres and buses giving
people access to learn new media, outlined in BPV.
Mr Thompson said: "We
believe that the BBC should only have commercial activities which exploit and/or
export BBC content and the BBC brand.
have a duty to run these activities to maximise profits for the licence-payer.
"However, it is not essential that all
businesses are fully-owned by the BBC.
will actively start to explore options, including those of partnering, joint venturing
or sale with the management teams of BBC Broadcast and BBC Resources, and with
BBC Broadcast and BBC Resources - we will look at new ownership options (JV, partnership
or sale) which work in the best interests of the businesses and the BBC
We will be inviting bids for BBC Broadcast in the New Year
BBC Resources we will ensure strong contracts with the BBC and look at
the impact of other Reviews, particularly Out of London and work moving to Manchester,
then decide on the best option
There will be strong safeguards for continuity of service and for staff who provide
crucial and high quality services to the BBC and to other clients
BBC Worldwide the BBC should be the long term owner of Worldwide's TV channels
business, TV sales and magazines
There are opportunities for growth in global channels and sales with other UK
Magazines should focus more on brands and subjects connected to the BBC's core
programmes and mission, but there will be opportunities overseas
Trailing magazines on air should stop
Worldwide's books, learning and other businesses lack scale so JVs, partnering
or sale will be considered
There will be governance reform in Worldwide by introducing non-executive directors
BBC Worldwide will have the challenge of doubling profits over the next 24 months.
proposal to transfer the ownership or control of BBC Resources or to privatise
BBC Broadcast whole or in part would require the approval of the Secretary of
Later today, Mr Thompson will be delivering
the New Statesman Lecture and will also say: "I've come back to the
BBC at a critical moment in its history: a moment which calls both for a spirit
of conservation for the nurturing and protection of some of the BBC's greatest
strengths and traditions but also for a spirit of quite radical change.
a way, you can see the BBC as three quite different things wrapped up into one.
"First, it is a very substantial, highly
creative, sometimes rather unruly multimedia broadcaster.
it is a financially and constitutionally unique institution in the British public
"Third, it is a World Heritage
"Despite its eccentricities and
failings, it remains one of the greatest perhaps the greatest force
for cultural good on the face of the earth."