BBC Ideas

BBC Ideas does not have a commissioning round open at present. Please continue to check this page for new pitching opportunities.

 

BBC Ideas is an exciting new short-form digital video project from the BBC. Launched In January 2018, our strapline is 'short films for curious minds'.

The films are thought-provoking and aim to challenge and inform the audience, while presenting ideas in a digital-friendly and accessible way.  

BBC Ideas is very keen to encourage creative and original approaches and treatments, and is interested in new, fresh, diverse voices and talent - among both its contributors and filmmakers.

All videos sit within a playlist, which encourages the viewer to explore and discover more.

The films are published on the BBC Ideas website, and in addition may be promoted via the BBC News website, the BBC Homepage, and BBC social media channels (BBC Ideas is currently on Twitter and YouTube and posts via the main BBC social accounts on Facebook and Instagram).

The films are published in the UK but are not geoblocked, and remain on the site once published.

The audience

The audience we are aiming at is aged 18-45.

They are primarily based in the UK, but are digital-savvy, global in their outlook, curious about the world, and their place in it. They want to spend their time online wisely.

We want them to come away from watching a BBC ideas film having learnt something new, or been exposed to a fresh perspective.

Our audience loves content that is counter-intuitive, surprising, funny, and thought provoking. And also practical ideas they can apply to themselves to help get ahead in the world.

They care about expertise and accuracy - and expect this from the BBC - but they don’t like things that feel too academic or dry. They are keen on hearing from a diverse range of people. Passion, pace and enthusiasm are important.

 

The idea

In terms of subject matter, the brief is wide - your idea could be inspired by the world of psychology, philosophy, science, anthropology, sociology, history, or just be something you’ve always wondered about and are desperate to get to the bottom of.

We are looking for films that are relatively evergreen, but they must still feel in some way topical and relevant now - i.e. the idea must strike some kind of contemporary nerve, be a universal of interest to all, or feel somehow zeitgeist-y.

Please browse our site to ensure the idea you have in mind has already been done.

 

How to pitch and budget

We pay between £1,000 and £1,200 per minute.

We are interested in both film and animation.

A typical BBC Ideas piece might be between 2 mins and 4.5 minutes depending on the subject matter.

We commission both individual videos and playlists (a typical playlist might include five or six videos).

We commission from indies of all sizes and also from freelancers. You do not need to have made a piece for the BBC before, but we do want to see evidence of work (ideally for a digital audience) made to a high-production standard. 

If you have questions, you can contact us at bbc.ideas@bbc.co.uk.

 

Some key elements 

Every BBC Ideas film must:

  • Leave the viewer learning something they didn’t know before
  • OR it must provide the viewer with a fresh perspective on an issue or subject
  • The information included within the film must be well-researched and factually accurate.
  • It must keep the audience fully engaged from start to finish, with a special emphasis on making the first 10 seconds very grabby.
  • It must be mobile friendly (e.g. tighter shots are often more engaging on mobile, any text/graphics must be clearly legible on mobile, and there must be some space at the bottom for subtitles to be added)

What we are NOT looking for

In order to keep our editorial focus very clear for the audience and to avoid duplication, BBC Ideas aims to publish short films, which would not be made by other parts of the BBC.

Please steer clear in particular of ideas which are:

  • Too newsy (as thiswill be well covered by our news teams)
  • Head-on science (e.g. about a specific new piece of research or discovery)
  • Powerful human stories which don’t relate to a wider idea or bigger contemporary issue (NB. powerful human stories which do relate to wider issues/ideas are to be encouraged!

Some other pointers

These are not essential for all films, but here are a few things that can work well for BBC Ideas:

Some examples of BBC Ideas videos

Forget hygge: The laws that really rule in Scandinavia

Why do we kiss?

What happens inside us when we sing?

What would Florence Nightingale make of big data?

The funny thing about privilege

Why do we use a qwerty keyboard anyway?

The girl who helped discover dinosaurs

Are you suffering from climate change anxiety?

Some examples of playlists we have commissioned

Thinkers from the past on our world today

How to win at stuff

The Funny Thing About…

Edible Histories

Habits of the Highly Successful

Please note you can watch all the films and playlists on BBC Ideas by clicking 'browse' at the top of the site.

Other useful references

Netflix explained

Vox

NBC Left Field

TED - Small Thing Big Idea