BBC DG, Tim Davie, has announced that BBC Children’s Production is to become part of BBC Studios and that BBC Studios itself has been set a new returns target of £1.5bn in the five years from 2022/23.

Tim Davie said: “We are actively building commercial income with ambitious commercial plans for high quality programmes, vital funding and international audiences.  The BBC’s commercial activity will become even more important in future as we expand commercial disciplines to new areas, such as Children’s production, and – despite a challenging market – seek to achieve the highest possible return from all our assets.  This enhances value for Licence Fee Payers and boosts the wider creative economy.”

In 2019/20, financial returns from BBC Studios totalled £276m, principally via content investment and dividends.  BBC Studios has confirmed that it is on track to meet its five year returns commitment of £1.2bn by 2021/22, an increase of 18% on the previous five years, despite a significant impact on this year from the Covid-19 pandemic.  BBC Studios has committed to grow this total by a further 30% to a new target of £1.5bn in the five years from 2022/23.

As part of this, BBC Children’s Production, makers of Blue PeterJoJo & Gran Gran, My Mum Tracy Beaker, Something Special, Crackerjack and Ferne and Rory, will transfer into BBC Studios from April 2022.

The transfer will bring together BBC production teams, supported by brands and marketing expertise, to “maximise the value of existing Children’s properties and build new global brands for a range of broadcasters and platforms with a better return on investment from programme development.”

Commenting on the transfer, Patricia Hidalgo Reina, Director of BBC Children’s & Education, said: “Moving Children’s production into BBC Studios will safeguard our specialism within a producer of scale, enabling them to continue to make world-class Public Service content for our UK audiences, and increasing their potential of taking British Children’s content to the wider global market.”

The transfer of Children’s will follow two other moves into BBC Studios this year.  BBC Three’s in-house production team, producer of match-making comedy show Hot Property with Yung Filly, will become part of BBC Studios from April, bringing its multi-genre team into line with the BBC’s model for UK production.

Meanwhile, BBC Studios will also become responsible for the commercial management of BBC Global News Ltd (GNL), bringing all international commercial activities under single leadership.

At the same time, BBC Studios is putting plans in place to realise new digital revenue streams for the medium to long term outside the UK by establishing digital services built around British content.  This includes exploring future commercial possibilities for both audio and news.

Existing digital business plans include further expansion of the BritBox International JV in up to 25 markets, as announced last year, with four now operational or imminent outside the UK, and new SVOD channel BBC Select, for culture, politics and ideas, which launched last month in the US and Canada.


Jon Creamer

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