Trust publishes report into BBC distribution

Date: 05.02.2014     Last updated: 23.09.2014 at 09.53
Category: Value for money

The Trust has today welcomed the findings of a report which shows that the BBC's distribution arrangements for its UK programmes and services are fit for purpose and offer good value for money for licence fee payers.

The latest in a series of Trust commissioned independent Value for Money studies, the report found that the BBC is fulfilling its commitment to serve audiences across the UK on multiple platforms and is well placed to continue to do so in the future.

The BBC's distribution arrangements enable the delivery of its content and services to audiences throughout the country on TV, Radio and Online.

Launched in February 2013, the study was conducted by specialist media consultancy Mediatique Ltd and examined whether the BBC's key objectives in relation to universality and provision of services to licence fee payers are cost effective in terms of delivery against the BBC's public service obligations and compared to relevant market benchmarks.

Mediatique also looked at the governance structures in place covering the BBC's distribution activities, to review the effectiveness of the BBC's distribution arrangements in light of future potential challenges.

Diane Coyle, BBC Trust Vice Chairman said:

"The BBC must provide audiences everywhere with the content that they love in the ways that they want it, innovating and adapting to the changing technological landscape and to audience demands.

"This report shows that the BBC is doing just that while providing good value for money for licence fee payers, with arrangements in place to ensure that it continues to fulfil its distribution commitments in the future."

Mediatique made some specific recommendations for the BBC in the following areas:

  • Financial reporting – The BBC should be more transparent in the way it reports its distribution costs and total costs should be published in the Annual Report as a percentage of the licence fee
  • Governance and VFM – The BBC should ensure that traditional as well as online distribution is represented at board level and that its participation in free to air platforms should be reviewed along with a regular independent benchmarking of distribution costs
  • Data on industry developments and consumer behaviour – The BBC should ensure that information on key industry trends and developments and data gathered on consumer behaviour is better shared across the organisation.

The Trust will now work with the Executive on the report's recommendations to develop a plan to monitor the BBC's distribution performance in the future, and will also be scrutinising the BBC's self-imposed 10 per cent ceiling for distribution costs to ensure that it is set at the right level to support the BBC's requirements.

The BBC Executive has published its response to the report.

Later this year the Trust will also be publishing a framework document for BBC distribution which it announced in a Governance review published last month and Mediatique's recommendations will help inform the development of this.

Notes to editors

The terms of the reference for this Value for Money study can be found here.