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The BBC's £7 billion Boost to Economy, Jobs and Businesses

Caroline Thomson

Chief Operating Officer

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I'm speaking later today at the Oxford Media Convention about how the BBC can best support our creative industries where I will be outlining the key findings of a new report into our economic value.

The study, carried out by Deloitte and published in the coming weeks, will show that the BBC (including its commercial subsidiaries) contributed at least £7.6bn to the UK economy in 2008/09, supporting jobs and generating at least two pounds of economic value for every pound of the licence fee, on top of providing the great quality content that we all enjoy.

The BBC's raison d'être is providing programmes and content of real value and quality to licence fee payers, and we must never forget this. But in delivering this broader benefits stretch into the digital and creative industries - which in turn spills over into the wider economy.

The report will also show funding through the licence fee is a vital source of stability across the whole UK broadcasting industry as the economy slows.

Key private sector beneficiaries of the BBC's investment include independent production companies who produce around 40 per cent of BBC TV programmes around the UK including Spooks, Waterloo Road, Who Do You Think You Are? and Question Time.

In our forthcoming Strategy Review we will also explore the potential for spending an even higher proportion of the licence fee on quality content, providing a further shot in the arm for our creative industries.

This new evidence shows the licence fee is a force for good. It provides us with more than just quality programmes - it also boosts UK PLC supporting thousands of jobs and businesses, many of which are in the private sector.

This evidence will ensure that as we focus on creating quality programming we can also think about how best to spread the knock-on economic benefits to local and regional economies, including through our Strategy Review.

The Report will also reveal:
• BBC TV, Radio and Online services each contribute at least £4.5bn, £1bn and £300m respectively to the UK economy each year.
• BBC Worldwide and our other commercial operations contribute £866m to the UK economy as well as directly returning profits back to licence fee payers.
• The BBC's activity in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland contributes £330m, £248m and £131m respectively to the UK economy.
• The BBC's role in promoting digital markets such as Freeview and digital switchover has helped the process to be completed far earlier than it would have been without the BBC. This contribution has led to an extra £95m (up to £250m in some scenarios) created for the UK economy in 2008/09 alone.
• The BBC also plays a critical role in providing training for the media industry. Deloitte estimates that BBC training leads to a benefit of £59m each year of improved productivity to the creative economy.
• BBC activity directly and indirectly supports around 7,000 jobs in Glasgow, Cardiff and Bristol, which creates £200m of economic value that would be lost if the BBC was not licence fee funded
• The BBC's spend on the independent production sector, one of the crown jewels of the UK creative economy, directly generates £867m of economic value. Deloitte estimates that including wider benefits this value could be up to £1.4bn.

Our Strategy Review will bring a laser focus on how to guarantee that quality continues. We will work to ensure that excellent content and benefitting the economy go hand in hand.

However, we also need to go further, be more efficient and secure still better value for money. We are driving down spend on both senior manager pay and talent as the market changes. Whilst we operate in a competitive market and the public tell they do expect top artists on the BBC, we are already getting the best for less.

In a tough economic climate, we need to be more conscious of our market 'footprint'. Our Strategy Review will consider issues of the BBC's size and scope carefully. It will define the boundaries. At the same time, it is important to nail the myth the BBC only has a negative market impact - in fact, it is very often an important force for good in the economy.

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