Review of the BBC's content supply arrangements

Date: 12.08.2014     Last updated: 14.11.2014 at 13.47

On 12 August 2014, the BBC Trust published terms of reference for a wide-ranging review looking at the way that programmes and content are made and supplied to the BBC by either independent production companies or BBC in-house production.

The content that audiences watch, listen to and read on BBC TV, radio and online comes from a variety of sources, with the BBC making much of its own content as well as commissioning content from independent producers.

Currently 25 per cent of BBC TV commissioning hours is guaranteed to independent producers, 50 per cent is guaranteed to BBC in-house producers, and 25 per cent is available to both in open competition under the Window of Creative Competition, first introduced in 2007. For radio, under separate requirements, at least ten per cent of hours must be commissioned from independent suppliers, with a further ten per cent open to competition between the BBC and independent sector. For online, 25 per cent of content spend must be commissioned from independent suppliers.

The review, first announced in the Trust’s annual workplan in April 2014, will look at:

• The performance so far of the BBC’s content supply arrangements

• The performance of network and non-network supply arrangements in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions

• Changes in BBC in-house production, in the position of the BBC as a buyer of content and in the market since 2007

• The longer term implications of changes in the market for the BBC’s content supply strategy

• Changes to the BBC’s approach to content supply proposed by the BBC Executive and their impact on quotas and targets.

A public consultation will begin in October*; as part of this the Trust will consider the proposals that the BBC Director-General initially set out in early July to open up the content supply system to more competition. The Trust’s final report will be published by summer 2015 with the conclusions primarily forming proposals to Government ahead of Charter Review.

*On 14 November 2014 the Trust confirmed that it had decided to begin this consultation slightly later, in part to enable the BBC Executive to develop their ideas further; we now expect it to begin early in the New Year 2015.