Tuesday 7 December 2004
Check against delivery
We've just moved and a couple of weeks ago, one of my
children found a letter in an old book in a cardboard box.
from the BBC, it's got the old red BBC lozenges on it and it's dated April, 1979.
Mr Thompson' nobody had ever actually called me Mr Thompson before
'Dear Mr Thompson, Thank you for attending the Final Appointment Board for the
Research Assistants Training Scheme 79.G.2026. I am pleased to tell you that you
have been selected for one of the Traineeships. Yours sincerely, Barbara Todd.'
Now this letter changed my life. I couldn't believe my luck. I was 21, and
to a 21-year-old student, the BBC sounded like the most exciting job on earth.
And when I got there 25 years ago this autumn, I found that it was.
of the places I visited on my first day along with Petra's tomb and that
first, Proustian encounter with the BBC canteen was TC1, the biggest studio
in Television and one of the biggest in the world.
I was back there
again the other night, watching Children in Need go out.
something about live television the energy, the intensity of the team-work,
that invisible but overwhelming sense you get of the audience out there
that always makes my heart beat faster. It did on Day One and it still does.
The same goes for every other kind of broadcasting. Like most people at the BBC,
I'm there because I love what we do.
My point is this. In many ways,
the BBC made me. My few years away at Channel 4 may allow me to look at it to
some extent with the eyes of an outsider, but the BBC flows through my veins.
I believe in the BBC and what it stands for. I believe in its vital importance
for our audiences. I believe in its future.
A critical moment
But 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
In a way, you can see the BBC
as three quite different things wrapped up into one.
it is a very substantial, highly creative, sometimes rather unruly multimedia
Second, it is a financially and
constitutionally unique institution in the British public firmament.
though we are usually too bashful to put it quite like this, it is a World Heritage
Despite its eccentricities and failings,
it remains one of the greatest some might say the greatest force
for cultural good in the world.
each of these three aspects in turn, beginning with the BBC as one of the big
players in the audio-visual world.
Now I think
it's obvious to everyone that the BBC faces a tidal wave of change over the coming
We often talk about technology and
it's true that the next ten years will see scores of new devices, platforms and
pathways for getting content to audiences.
what matters is not developments in technology, but the profound impact these
developments are having on audience expectation and audience demand.
still want the best from the BBC, but how they want it when, where, in
what form is changing by the minute.
media, new audiences
an experiment for most of them, it's an everyday reality.
than half have digital TV now, with Freeview alone being chosen by more than 200,000
new households every month.
More than half
are on-line. Broadband is growing faster in the UK than any previous consumer
Digital radio is taking off.
the public aren't just buying the kit, they're using the services more and more.
We've just had our biggest ever daily traffic
to our website as America went to the polls. More than 12 million people used
our red button interactive service during the Olympics.
the revolution is still gathering pace. New mobile technologies, on-demand, high
definition, file-sharing: media is being re-invented and audiences are racing
ahead with it.
If the BBC doesn't keep up
with those audiences, it's dead.
tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, but soon enough: there isn't going to be any
room in the future for old media or old media organisations.
I believe that what will stand out in this extraordinary, unfolding world is content:
exceptional, distinct, valuable content.
accessed and enjoyed in new ways, stored, shared, reworked and sometimes added
to by users who will increasingly be able to originate content of their own, but
content all the same.
Well, content is what
the BBC is all about. It's a creative engine whose whole purpose is to convert
public investment into wonderful programmes and content.
programme-making heritage its conviction, its commitment to talent and
to giving that talent the time to get things right, its commitment to gratuitous
quality, in other words quality over and above what you would need to provide
to make a programme fit for commercial purpose this heritage is what the
emerging on-demand world is crying out for.
future is heading towards, not away from the BBC.
don't believe we should be the only provider of this kind of public service content:
competition and diversity of supply isn't just good for the public, it's good
for the BBC.
But I do believe that as digital
fragments audiences, advertising sales and the rest of the UK's broadcasting and
production-base, the BBC's role as a bulwark and a guarantee of concentrated investment
in distinctive British content will become more important.
we can only fulfil that role if we embrace the kind of change which the digital
Let's turn now to that second
aspect of the BBC as a unique some would say anomalous British public
Even as I speak, the great and
good are furrowing their brows, trying to devise the perfect constitutional model
to hold the BBC fully to account.
I have to
say that I and my fellow managers at the BBC are beginning to feel rather flattered.
We had thought of ourselves as solid, possibly
even slightly dull public service broadcasters.
But apparently not. No, it turns out that we are in fact a dangerous and unpredictable
bunch of lunatics who might lash out at any minute and who need not one, but multiple
teams of guards.
It's an oddly liberating
Joking apart, a lot of people appear
not to realise just how much scrutiny regulatory, political and public
the BBC is already under.
just the Governors: Ofcom, the DCMS, the National Audit Office, the Culture Media
and Sport Select Committee and the Public Accounts Committee all have a right
to examine and in the case of Ofcom, regulate many aspects of what
the BBC does.
It's a right they exercise regularly
and not just with rigour, it must be said, but downright enthusiasm.
The Governors themselves are today taking a far more active role than I've ever
seen before at the BBC and insisting on far greater separation between themselves
The systematic testing of
all the proposals I am going to set out this evening with independent expert
advice is a good example of this new approach.
None of the reviews will go ahead until the Governors have had a chance to examine
and sign off on detailed implementation plans.
this and indeed the wider debate about governance must make sense.
BBC's status and its privileges above all, its receipt of the licence-fee
mean that Government, Parliament and country must all assure themselves
about the governance and regulation of the BBC.
the most important part of the BBC's unusual status in British public life is
not the particular challenges it throws up for the accountability industry.
is it even the question of the impact which the publicly-funded BBC has on the
rest of the market, important though that is.
is the unique relationship the BBC enjoys with the British public.
public believe, rightly, that they own the BBC. They have higher expectations
of the BBC, but they also place a special reliance and trust in it.
this relationship too must change, because the public themselves want it to.
in the rest of the UK find it difficult to understand why so much of the BBC is
based in London and still seems to speak to them with such a metropolitan voice.
They want a more richly-textured, more distributed
BBC with investment and access to talent spread more evenly over the UK.
want to be able to see what we do, to come into BBC centres all over the country
and to contribute their thoughts and experiences on the web, radio, TV: I've seen
people ranging from schoolchildren to grandparents doing this in projects from
Glasgow to Havant and it's an extraordinary departure both for them and for us.
above all, the public want us to listen to them.
to give them exactly what they want in terms of the most popular programmes, but
to really listen to their expectations and their complaints.
The old, aloof, remote BBC doesn't work for them anymore.
Again, they've moved on and, again, so must we.
unchanging mission and values
are some values in the BBC which shouldn't change.
The trustworthiness and accuracy of our journalism, for instance which
is why we take last week's Bhopal hoax so seriously.
Our commitment to outstanding individual talent: I think, for example, about the
scope and range of John Peel's years at the BBC; or of Steven Poliakoff's work
for us over more than two decades.
of programmes and content which promote knowledge-building whether that's
Pompeii on BBC ONE, In Our Time on Radio 4 or the amazing Digital Curriculum which
we are currently building and which will ultimately reach every child in every
classroom in the UK.
Our global ambition and
global reputation, which now relies on our websites and international television
channels as well as on the World Service: so it's The Office on BBC America as
well as Lilli Bolero.
There's no need to change
the BBC's essential mission or its values.
That phrase of Reith's, about a public broadcasting enterprise dedicated to 'the
service of humanity in its fullest sense' still feels utterly right today.
to preserve that idealism, to go on delivering that mission to audiences here
and around the world, almost everything else does have to change.
the challenge. That's why leading the BBC at this moment does feel a little bit
like skateboarding down a flight of stairs holding a Ming vase.
This summer, the BBC presented
its picture of its own future in Building Public Value.
the centre of this picture is the idea of distilling the sometimes rather airy
notion of public service broadcasting into the more definable, tangible concept
of public value.
Public value is about the
pursuit of specific public purposes.
about re-interpreting this vision of public service for today's broadcasting and
today's audiences, ensuring that that no-one is excluded from the enormous opportunities
afforded by the digital revolution.
this means promoting building democratic value by helping the public make sense
of the world and encouraging them to debate and engage with it.
It's about the BBC's role in furthering cultural and creative value, both on the
demand side by bringing the public the best original work in music, the arts,
drama, comedy and entertainment, and on the supply side by supporting and investing
in the creative industries whether it's nurturing new writers for radio and TV
drama or our wonderful orchestras.
educational value, as I suggested. It's about social and community value.
is not just the idea of the BBC as the national 'glue', though experiences shared
through the BBC remain important and indeed many of the big events, whether
it's a D-Day anniversary or Euro 2004, seem to be getting bigger.
It's also about confronting local, national and international audiences with points
of cultural or political difference, in ways which hope to build greater tolerance
through greater understanding.
about global value, that reaching out of the best of the BBC's journalism and
the best of British talent and culture to a worldwide audience.
value has a meaning for individual consumers when programmes or other content
have the value of merit goods, delivering more benefit that the consumer would
have naturally demanded.
But to me it's above
all an idea about public, shared space: about shared investment to provide content
that pursues shared goals; about opening and keeping open a kind of virtual market-place
in which all the talents and all the audiences can bump into each other.
Broadcasting is a civic art. Though we may experience it individually, it is intrinsically
public in ambition and effect.
may make you more likely to vote, or to look at my neighbour in a new and positive
A programme I turn to for pure relaxation
may teach me something of real value.
national emergency, the right broadcast information might save my life.
public value is also an idea which has practical implications.
It is intended to help the Governors, Parliament and public assess the BBC's proposed
strategies and actual performance against the public goals that it has been set.
The Governors will perform a public value test for any proposed new service to
weigh the potential benefits of the service for example, the way in which
open, on-demand and free access to the BBC's archives might provide a remarkable
new learning and creative resource for students and teachers and the public at
large to weigh that benefit against the potential disbenefits for
example, the possible impact such a Creative Archive might have on the market
for existing, private sector archive owners and exploiters.
The result would be, in Paddy Barwise's useful phrase, a judgement about net public
value on which the decision as to whether to approve or reject the new service
could be based.
Similar methodologies could
be used to monitor the performance and net impact of existing BBC services.
new programme and content strategy
Public Value imagines a future world in which the BBC uses the new digital technologies
to deliver far more net public value than it can now.
success for the BBC depends less on having the right conceptual and policy framework
than it does on delivering actual programmes and services which live up to these
That's why the most important
work we've done over the past five months hasn't been on the various reviews into
how the BBC is structured and operates.
been about our programme and content strategy.
just as with the BBC's formal accountability mechanisms, this is also all about
We've spent the past few months
listening to licence-payers up and down the country, asking them what they want
from the BBC both today and tomorrow.
is what they've got to say.
They want a BBC which is totally focused
on excellence, which gives them more quality, more ambition, more depth than they
get from any other broadcaster.
quality you can see in North and South, Bodies, In Our Time, Outlook on the World
Service or our brilliant news website.
a mixture of talent and conviction.
they recognise there's plenty in our output already, they want more.
want us to raise our game.
They look to us for what I call the commanding
reputations of broadcasting.
News and current
affairs, of course that's our cornerstone though even here, they
want higher standards: they expect us to give them best journalism in the world.
Comedy and drama are a real priority,
right up there with news.
Music and music-making,
on all media but of course with our wonderful radio networks taking a leading
Programmes that build knowledge and
document our world, whether it's Colosseum or Palin's Himalayas on TV or Front
Row or In Tune on radio.
They still look first
to the BBC for sport and national events, for safe, original high quality services
for children, and now more than ever for the best local and regional
services in all media.
Increasingly they expect
us to lead in new services as well: interactivity, mobility, broadband.
Here they don't just want depth of content they want the right context
as well: world-class navigation, media literacy, a welcoming gateway for new digital
users, speed and depth for the experienced.
Now we can and should continue
to deliver many other kinds of content, especially really original entertainment
like our great current hit Strictly Come Dancing, those stars and shows like Jonathan
Ross or Have I Got News For You or Comic Relief that lead and inspire the national
There's also still room for
ground-breaking new features and format factual programmes.
I believe that this list of priorities are where our greatest efforts and the
biggest weight of our investment should go.
The public are pretty clear
on what they don't want as well.
Repeats in BBC ONE
They hate it when they think we're
being derivative or are repeating ourselves.
'How many times can they show us shelves being put up?' one woman asked.
Just because they like a genre on other channels doesn't mean they want to get
it from the BBC: 'I don't want the BBC to show me that kind of reality', said
On radio and online as well,
our licence-payers want us to make the programmes and content we really believe
This is the content that will really stand
out in that fragmented digital future.
What does this mean in practice?
We need to develop a new programme and content strategy in detail.
Governors need to examine it, test it against this new idea of public value, amend
it if necessary and then sign it off.
I can tell you what I think it means, what my aspirations are:
A major investment in original British drama across TV and radio, with
a particular emphasis on ambition and range on BBC ONE, BBC TWO and Radio 4
More investment in comedy too, using that whole chain of BBC 7, Radio 1,
Radio 2, Radio 4, BBC THREE and BBC TWO to build the new hits for BBC ONE
A boost in the origination budgets of our children's channels they're
a brilliant success, but we need to find the funds for more new shows as well
as investing more in BBC FOUR
A music strategy for the whole BBC with the vision and the resources to
open up the world of music and music-making to the whole country with an
alternative Proms for contemporary music to sit alongside our great classical
festival every summer
More specialist factual programmes and content for our channels, and for
all the ways of enhancing that content through interactivity and the depth that
the web and broadband can provide
More money for original journalism, with enhanced newsgathering, more money
and slots for Panorama, more overall prominence for current affairs on BBC ONE,
more interactivity, and an enhanced journalistic presence across the Middle East
and the Islamic world
We want to maintain our present, very substantial investment in sport and
national events in all media. We want to support and extend the new impetus we've
given documentary and the arts, especially on BBC ONE and TWO
And I believe
there should be less of some things.
major reduction in the number of repeats on peaktime BBC ONE.
We still want the best and most original new entertainment and popular factual
ideas and I think we've got the talent inside as well as outside the BBC to come
up with them.
But we want to raise our sights:
our audiences rightly judge us by higher standards than they do our competitors.
do want less repetition, less derivation.
want real audience successes, but we want to move on before they get tired.
public want more ambition on radio and in new media as well.
And they want new ways through electronic programme guides and search engines
to root out the best the BBC has to offer.
All these improvements are things that our
audiences want now.
But if you've read Building
Public Value, you'll know that our ambitions go way beyond that.
particular, we believe that the BBC has an important role in helping to lead the
building of digital Britain.
A key element
of this is the full roll-out of the digital terrestrial television network with
the prospect of a final switchover from analogue to digital within the eight years.
But it's also about continued support for
digital radio, about new partnerships to deliver rich content via broadband, the
possibility of new local services from the BBC including a local tier of
TV news delivered by broadband and about the second generation of digital
television, including high-definition, HDTV.
shouldn't think of digital Britain as any one technology or any one switchover
It's better to imagine overlapping waves
of change, each of which will be fundamentally content-driven, and in each of
which we believe the BBC has a leading part to play.
But to achieve all this, the
BBC must undergo nothing short of a transformation itself.
I believe that my predecessor Greg Dyke identified the right themes.
believed in a BBC with far less process and bureaucracy and with fewer layers
and less hierarchy, because he knew that all those things got in the way of best
programme-making and the best use of all that amazing BBC talent.
the task of transforming the BBC is not complete.
a new mood of openness, honesty and collaboration in today's BBC that's
really struck me over the past five months but if you take a cold look
at some of the tangible barriers to creativity, especially at our processes, I
would say that surprisingly little has changed from the BBC I knew five or even
25 years ago.
Things which should be so simple
still somehow end up being complicated.
of course every penny we spend on overheads is one less penny to spend on programmes.
the most agile, flexible media organisations will flourish in the future.
only they will attract and retain the best talent.
while the BBC must continue to be able to deliver the wide range of services its
audiences expect and demand, as an organisation it must be as small as that mission
and the bill
So our prospectus 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.
an irreversible shift in the culture of the BBC towards simplicity, opportunity
But at this point, another question may be forming in
your mind: exactly how much is this new BBC going to cost?
the last part shouldn't cost anything at all in fact a simpler, more focused
BBC should cost less to run than the present one.
the programme strategy and the big digital plans contained in Building Public
Value will both involve a very large amount of investment.
final bill will depend on exactly how much responsibility the BBC is given for
the task of building digital Britain, but whichever way you look at it, the total
investment needed will run into many hundreds of millions of pounds.
of course the first thing the Government and everyone else will ask us is: how
much of this vision can you afford yourselves?
Government set the BBC quite testing efficiency targets to meet in the present
licence-fee settlement, targets which we still have to take further steps to meet.
They're bound to begin any discussion about
the future level of the licence-fee by again asking how much of the future we
can afford to pay for ourselves.
And that brings me to
the first of the famous four reviews.
the past few months we've been looking at to what extent we can make the existing
licence fee go further and pay for at least some of our plans for the future.
first conclusion is that we should make a historic shift away from overheads and
other kinds of non-content spend and direct the money instead into the programme
budget and into our future digital plans.
won't be easy. Despite the wilder imaginings of some of the papers, the BBC's
professional services and other support areas are already pretty effective.
They're also full of people who are just as talented and committed to the BBC
as our journalists and producers.
great marketeers and strategists, human resources specialists, lawyers, finance
teams and so on.
But a simpler, less complicated BBC could afford to have
leaner, more focused central divisions.
could afford to expand some our successful initiatives in outsourcing; to avoid
duplication by pooling and sharing more services across the BBC; to have a far
smaller headquarters operation.
By doing all
these things, we believe we can reduce our professional and support costs over
the next three years by £68 million or around a quarter.
We would expect to reduce posts in these parts of the BBC by 40% or 2,500 posts:
of those posts, around half would probably be outsourced, with the other half
lost outright in redundancies.
We believe that
we can save an additional £93 million from better procurement and other
non-headcount related costs.
But we also believe
that it's right to look for productivity and other gains in our content divisions.
Here the question is whether we can make the licence-fee go further with our existing
output so that we can redirect the extra into new programmes and new services.
often find it quite hard to understand this kind of exercise: 'how can you claim
that you're putting money into programmes when you're cutting my budget?'
But I have to say that, after four years when value for money has not been a top
priority at the BBC, but which have seen further big leaps in broadcast technology
four years when the rest of the industry have been grappling with an advertising
recession and acute pressures on cost I don't think it's unreasonable to
look at production costs at the BBC.
set a broad target of 15% savings for all these divisions over the next three
years, though in those areas where we know money is already tight English
local radio and TV production in Children's are both examples the targets
will be lower.
And we are looking for genuine
efficiencies, not reductions in quality.
is a period when the quality of our programmes and other content has to go up
not down. I know that's going to be a real challenge.
effect on jobs is harder to predict at this stage.
you've heard, we want to put new investment into all these areas, using not just
internal savings but also all the money we're planning to save in our overheads.
Overall, we will be spending more not less
on journalism, more not less on TV, Radio and New Media.
we've asked all the divisions to look at the most intelligent way of phasing both
savings and proposed investments, bearing in mind the particular conditions of
individual programmes and teams.
We will then
take detailed combined plans to the Governors in the early months of 2005.
what does the overall financial picture look like?
To meet the terms of the existing licence-fee settlement, the BBC was
already required to build up to a self help saving of £155m a
year by the end of the present Charter.
The measures I've
just set out that big shift out of overheads and central costs, the 15%
target for content should boost that £155 million to savings of £320
million a year by the third year.
pay for the whole vision or anything like, but I believe it is an achievable target
and I believe it is all we can do without inflicting damage to the services we
offer the public.
It is the price a
painful one, I know, for many people in the BBC for reaching out for the
prize I have set out this evening.
I want to turn now to our
second review which looked at the commissioning and production of BBC programmes
Above all, this is about ensuring
that the licence-fee really does go into the best ideas and the best talent.
as many of you will know, it's also bound up in the question about whether the
BBC offers fair access to independent producers, especially in television.
Many people believe that over the past decade the BBC has systematically favoured
its own in-house television production-base to the detriment of the indie sector
and that it has regarded the 25% statutory quota as an effective ceiling as well
as a floor.
Some of them argue that the only
solution is to double the quota to 50%.
I believe there is a legitimate case for giving significantly greater and fairer
access to indies, I passionately believe that a 50% quota would be a grave mistake.
In-house production, from brilliant features like Top Gear and What Not To
Wear to comedies like Little Britain to dramas like Waking The Dead, in-house
production is one of the great glories of the BBC.
It's a critical mass of talent and training and programme-making heritage which
is important, not just for the BBC, but for the whole of the UK's creative industries.
As the rest of the broadcasting sector fragments, it's all the more important
that the BBC maintains a strong and confident in-house production capacity.
this is what we intend to do.
the existing statutory quota of 25% in Television, ensuring from now that we plan
to comfortably exceed it every year.
create a set of in-house minimum output contracts at 50% of all commissioning.
The last 25% of commissions would be in what
we've called the window of creative competition.
can't reorganise the BBC without at least one new acronym, so this is the famous
WOCC. Commissions would go to the best ideas from whatever
To make this window real and to ensure that there really is space
for today's creatively stronger independent sector, we also believe it's right
to reduce in-house capacity from its current levels in the seventies percentage
range to around 60%, that 10% extra above the minimum output level enabling in-house
to develop for and win some of the commissions in the WOCC.
shape of in-house supply and the effect of the new programme strategy mean that
the primary capacity reduction will need to take place in our factual division,
where we believe that just over 400 posts, or just over 20% of the total, will
need to go.
This will be extremely painful
for this part of the BBC, but again it represents I believe a sensible middle
path through this difficult issue.
We will also substantially simplify
and streamline the commissioning process to make it fairer and more open to all
producers in all genres.
In radio, we will
extend our existing voluntary independent supply target of 10% to cover sport,
the Nations and our new digital channels.
New Media, and in the light of the Graf review, we will introduce a new quota
for external production of 25%.
Over the next
decade, the BBC will offer new opportunities in all media to independent producers,
who of course are already responsible for some of our greatest hits.
we will also keep faith with in-house production.
scale production is one of the reasons the BBC has succeeded in the past. It is
an essential part of our future and we will fight to defend it.
The third review looked
at the BBC's role out of London.
It ties into
all those themes in Building Public Value about re-connecting and embedding the
BBC in communities all over the UK.
fairer and more even investment of the licence fee across the country.
about opening our doors to new talent and new perspectives.
It's about winning back the trust of parts of Britain which can currently feel
quite alienated from the BBC.
of the review is the vision of a major new centre in Manchester with state-of-the-art
equipment and new, more creative, more collaborative ways of working.
We are proposing to move some of the most precious parts of the BBC to join the
departments already there, services and production divisions which we have complete
faith in and which we know will still be strong ten and 20 years from now.
And not just programme-makers, but broadcasters.
intend to move BBC Sport to Manchester, along with Five Live, our brilliant 24-hour
news and sport radio network.
along with our two national children's television networks, CBeebies and CBBC
described in the recent DCMS report as 'a triumph'.
New Media and Formal Learning, including the Digital Curriculum.
We also want to work with others especially those involved in academic
and applied research to create a new media lab for the North.
centre won't just open up new opportunities for the creative industries in Manchester,
but in the whole of the North.
We hope it
will greatly stimulate the independent sector in all media.
is a very large-scale ambition and it inevitably comes with a large price-tag.
Our Governors strongly support the vision
indeed the whole direction of Out Of London - but final approval of the
plan must wait until the shape of the BBC's future funding becomes clear.
More detailed planning will begin right away however.
Out Of London is about a lot more than Manchester.
We want to increase network production in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
by a further 50% over and above the significant increases of recent years.
We want to increase the BBC's proportion of spend in TV drama out of London to
And that's in addition to our broader
vision of a new era in local and regional BBC services.
Once ITV was the
broadcaster most associated with strong regional centres and regional commitment.
I believe the BBC has a historic opportunity
to take on that mantle and deepen forever its relationship with the public in
every part of the UK.
The fourth and final review
was of our commercial services.
has concluded that we do have a duty to drive as much commercial value as we can
out of the intellectual property created by licence fee investment.
from now on, BBC should only have commercial activities which exploit and/or export
BBC content and the BBC brand.
should decide whether or not the BBC needs to own a particular business or not.
Strategic importance: is the activity a critical
one which is closely allied to the public service mission?
scale: is the business either actually or potentially of a scale which allows
it to be fully competitive in terms of market share, cost and profitability?
the businesses which operate under the banner of BBC Worldwide, we have judged
that our UK and international channels business is strategically core: indeed
we believe there is an opportunity to grow it substantially further.
we believe it makes sense to retain our sales and distribution business, already
the largest in Europe though we will explore the possibility of joint-venturing
or partnering sales and distribution with other UK broadcasters to sell British
television product around the world more effectively.
also believe that the success of our magazines operation derives from its closeness
to the brands and creative teams who make titles like Top Gear and categories
like Wildlife and Music so successful.
future though, we believe the magazines business should only publish magazines
which relate to BBC subjects or programme titles.
practice of trailing magazine titles on the air a subject of real anxiety
and irritation to the rest of the magazine market should stop.
also believe that Worldwide's Books, Learning and other businesses lack the scale
to really grow and thrive in their very competitive markets and we will therefore
look for the right future for each of them going forward.
That might involve finding the right joint-venture or partner, or it might involve
selling them outright.
We will also recommend
to the Governors that they examine and reform the BBC's Fair Trading Complaints
process, and that we reform the governance of BBC Worldwide by introducing outside
non-executive independent directors to build confidence in the fairness and clarity
with which the BBC engages in commercial activity.
BBC also has two businesses which support our main operations of public service
production and broadcasting: BBC Resources, which provides studios, OB facilities
and post-production for many BBC programmes; and BBC Broadcast which provides
play-out and related services.
In both cases,
the review has concluded that it is not essential that these businesses are fully
owned by the BBC indeed full ownership may not be in the best interests
of Resources and Broadcast or those who work in them, as they seek to build their
business and secure more work.
We will start
actively to explore options, including those of partnering, joint-venturing, or
sale, with both management teams and with the market.
In the case of Resources, we still need to assess the impact of the other reviews
on the workload for Resources that process should be complete by the middle
In the case of Broadcast, we believe
we can begin to move more quickly.
both cases, we recognise that any change of ownership would have to be accompanied
by strong safeguards about continuity of service in the long as well as the short-term.
We will also focus on the interests of all
of our people in these divisions throughout the process.
together, the four reviews represent considerable change for the BBC.
there are no new heroic structural reforms or management theories at work here.
In each case, we have focused on pragmatic solutions which balance the need to
respond to real issues with our duty, not just to preserve but to strengthen the
BBC's programme-making, content-creating heart.
BBC effectively lost a year of planning because of the Gilligan-Kelly-Hutton crisis.
As a result, a lot of different challenges
have hit at the same time and we've had to move very quickly at least by
BBC standards! to meet them all at once.
advantage however is that we've been forced, both by events and by the whole debate
around Charter renewal, to think about our future in the round and to develop
an integrated view of how the BBC should navigate through the choppy, unpredictable
but also opportunity-rich waters of the next ten years.
plan inevitably means a great deal of personal disruption in many parts of the
I know that the coming months will be
difficult for many of my colleagues and that they will often find it very hard
to see that big picture, that positive long-term vision for the BBC, as they tackle
the immediate consequences of some of the reviews.
But I am convinced that the right course adjustment now is better than putting
off the evil day: sooner or later, even greater disruption and perhaps
worse would follow.
I talked earlier
about the unique relationship between the BBC and the public.
It's a relationship that through 80 years has survived momentous change.
from being an anachronism, I believe that this relationship may actually grow
in importance as broadcasting and Britain both change again.
we head into the next phase of the digital revolution, the potential and
the need for public value in broadcasting has never been greater.
a fully Digital Britain is a public challenge which the BBC can help to lead.
It is a Britain from which the BBC, and only the BBC, can ensure that no-one is
It is a Britain where investment
in British talent and voices and the widest range of quality British content will
be more important and more at risk than ever.
I believe that only the BBC, with its unique mission and its unique method of
funding, can guarantee that this investment will be made.
But it has to
be a changing BBC.
Excellence, more money
into programmes, simplicity, agility, creativity these are, I believe,
the right themes for the future.
If we stick
to these themes through the very challenging transition we have to make, Britain
will end up with a BBC which is more relevant, more valuable and stronger than
it is today.