An open, more distinctive BBC

The BBC must modernise to preserve and enhance what is best about public service broadcasting to ensure we continue to have a BBC that is British, bold and creative.Tony Hall, Director-General, BBC
Date: 07.09.2015     Last updated: 07.09.2015 at 11.24
Today the BBC will set out proposals on how it will become more open and more distinctive than ever before. The proposals will herald a fundamental change of approach for the Corporation.

The proposals set out the positive case for the BBC and how its services can adapt and change to meet future audience demands.

The Director-General, Tony Hall, said: “These proposals are about creating an open, more distinctive BBC. An open BBC that works in partnership for the good of Britain at home and abroad. An open BBC that helps secure the future of public service broadcasting and upholds democracy both at a local and an international level.

“The BBC must modernise to preserve and enhance what is best about public service broadcasting to ensure we continue to have a BBC that is British, bold and creative.

“A better BBC, for everyone.”

These proposals will not create a bigger BBC, but will create a better, more distinctive one. Funding for the World Service will need to be discussed with the Government, but the rest of the proposals would be funded within the confines of the budget agreement with the Government, and will not require any additional licence fee funding. In order to pay for them, the BBC will deliver further efficiencies and scale back its operations elsewhere.

The main proposals set out by the BBC today are -

  • A commitment to original, high-quality British drama to enrich content for UK viewers and boost the creative industries. This will be the backbone of a more distinctive approach across all of the BBC’s services, from BBC One to online.
  • A partnership to create an Ideas Service providing the public with the best of British ideas and culture.
  • A new children’s service – iPlay – creating a single front-door for children to the wealth of the whole BBC and our trusted partners beyond – giving more content to children that matures with them, across more platforms, in a safe and trusted way.
  • Finding digital ways to support music discovery to help audiences find new music and the best from the archive. This is backed by the UK music industry and focused on promoting the best of new British talent.
  • Responsive radio to give audiences a personalised schedule of programmes.
  • Significant investment in the World Service to parts of the world where there is a democratic deficit in impartial news. This is about upholding Britain’s place in the world and the promotion of British values.
  • The offering of a new partnership with local newspapers on local reporting, shaped in discussion with the industry. This content would be shared, jointly created, and backed by licence fee funding, thereby helping to secure the future of local newspapers and democratic reporting.
  • Opening up BBC iPlayer to showcase content from others.
  • A review of the BBC’s website to ensure that it is distinctive with a stronger focus on online broadcast content.
  • A transition from rolling news to streaming news, with BBC Newstream, bringing the expertise of our journalism into the palm of your hand.
  • New versions of our education, news and entertainment services in the Nations, as the start of our consultation about how to reflect deepening devolution.
  • The BBC will also set out its ambition to find close to 20 per cent of its cost base in savings. As much of that as possible will come from efficiency and commercial growth, but it will also require service reductions or closures. The BBC will seek to go further than required by the recent Budget agreement in order to invest in the above proposals.

The BBC believes that it must adapt and change. Part of that is about choosing where to focus its resources and creative effort.

The BBC believes these proposals will have a positive impact on the creative industries, deliver more of what the public wants in terms of original content, and enhance democracy both locally and internationally. They will deliver a BBC which is British, bold and creative.

There are also hard choices ahead on where the BBC will scale back what it delivers. These choices will be set out later in the year.

Notes to Editors

1. Today’s paper is the first in a series of four key moments. The second paper, which will be published at the Royal Television Society conference later this month, sets out our proposals on the future of BBC production and Worldwide. The third, which will be published in early October, will be the BBC’s direct response to the Government’s questions set out in their Green Paper. The fourth moment, later in the year, will set out the BBC’s money saving proposals.

2. A copy of the Director General’s speech outlining the changes is available at bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/speeches/2015/tony-hall-distinctive-bbc. A film outlining our new approach is available above.

BBC Press Office