BBC Studios, the BBC’s TV production arm, has secured approval to launch as a commercial subsidiary and make programmes for other broadcasters and customers, in a landmark move as part of the BBC’s plans to transform the way it produces and supplies content.
Following an extensive regulatory assessment and public consultation, the BBC Trust has formally approved the proposals, which are supported by Government and OFCOM.
BBC production teams have been making many of the UK’s most-loved shows for over 50 years - from Planet Earth II, Strictly Come Dancing and Doctor Who to Mrs Brown’s Boys, Top Gear and The Proms, their programmes are renowned for their quality and are hugely popular with audiences in the UK and around the world.
In an increasingly competitive market, it is important that the BBC sustains a strong production arm, as well as supporting a vibrant indie sector to ensure a secure supply of quality content for its audiences and best value for licence fee payers. Enabling BBC Studios to compete in the market and make content for new channels and audiences, outside of Licence Fee funding, will help the production teams to attract and retain the best creative talent and ensure that the BBC continues to be the world’s greatest programme maker.
BBC Studios is set to launch as a wholly-owned subsidiary in April 2017. It will be committed to supporting the BBC’s public service mission and profits will return to the BBC Group. With bases across the nations and regions of the UK, BBC Studios will continue to reflect and represent diverse voices and creative talent.
Tony Hall, BBC Director General, says: “We are renowned and celebrated around the world for the quality of our programmes. I am delighted that our plans have been approved. BBC Studios will soon be able to produce bold, British, creative content for other broadcasters and services, as well as the BBC. BBC Studios is vital to the BBC’s future success - I want to ensure we remain the best programme makers in the world through the coming decades.”
Mark Linsey, Director BBC Studios, says: “BBC Studios has so much to offer creatively, both to broadcasters and the incredible range of talent who work with us. We are responsible for many of the UK’s biggest and boldest shows and the breadth of our portfolio, combined with our BBC editorial values and over 50 years heritage, make us very unique. We have a huge amount of ambition and are excited about continuing our bedrock relationship with the BBC while taking our creative ideas to new audiences.”
BBC Studios – 2016 Creative Highlights
Planet Earth II – produced by BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit, the series was watched by12.1 million viewers in the UK alone on average, making it the most watched natural history programme in 15 years and Episode 2 (Mountains) brought in a notable 13.1 million viewers. It also resonated with younger audiences, bringing a larger volume of 16-34s than the X Factor.
Strictly Come Dancing – 2016 has seen Strictly’s strongest performance ever, with 13.1 million viewers tuning in for the final, which achieved a 53.5 percent audience share. The show audience figures have consolidated above 11 million every week since week 3, making it the most successful entertainment format of the year for the BBC.
War and Peace – adapted by Andrew Davies and featuring an all-star cast, this highly acclaimed BBC Studios co-production with The Weinstein Company and BBC Worldwide/Lookout Point has been sold to over 200 territories.
Mrs Brown’s Boys – recently voted best sitcom for the 21st century in a Radio Times poll, this much loved comedy broadcast live for the first time in the summer to launch the BBC’s Sitcom Season and was watched by 11.5 million viewers.
Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners – this multi-award-winning specialist factual series presented by David Olusoga, in an exclusive partnership with University College London, brought new research to the screens, revealing the cost of the abolition of the slave trade.
Countryfile – still at the top of its game nearly 30 years since it first broadcast, this hugely popular long-running series was watched by a record 9.5 million.
Murdered by My Father – this brave and powerful, ground-breaking drama for BBC Three has won multiple awards and also reached underserved audiences.
Glastonbury – BBC Studios delivered over 25 hours of coverage from the biggest headliners to some of the newest talent on the music scene and a record-breaking 18.9 million tuned in for Adele’s performance (31 percent TV audience).
Children in Need – with an amazing line up of talent, from Eddie Redmayne to Craig David and produced by BBC Studios’ Entertainment, Music and Events team, it raised a record £46 million.
Rillington Place – this new highly acclaimed drama series is achieving brilliant reviews for its high production values and outstanding talent.
Remembrance Sunday: The Cenotaph – this live complex broadcast brought the nation together and drew an audience of nearly 3.5 million.
Still Game – this iconic comedy series achieved the biggest non-sport audience in Scotland for over 10 years.
Awards – BBC Studio programmes received over a 100 award nominations and won nearly 30 awards in 2016, including an unparalleled nine RTS Awards and six BAFTAs.