BBC Studios is to combine its Productions and Content Partnerships businesses to create a “single content powerhouse for all the commercial arm’s productions, talent relationships, and content investment.”
The new business will be known as BBC Studios Productions.
The new BBC Studios Productions will consist of four genre-based areas: Scripted, Factual, Global Formats Group and Children’s – each taking a ‘one portfolio’ approach across all content. This will see all creative and content investment decisions taken with a “single strategic view” across wholly and partly owned labels, BBC Studios Productions, and the indies which BBC Studios partners with for Content Sales.
Ralph Lee, as CEO of BBC Studios Productions, will have overall responsibility for all of BBC Studios’ productions and content investment. Each genre’s Managing Director, reporting to Lee, will be responsible for overall strategy, creative health, pipeline and production capability. Lee will be supported by COO Martha Brass, who will continue to be responsible for business development, production operations and strategy. Brass will also assume overall responsibility for content investment into distribution rights, collaborating closely across BBC Studios.
Mark Linsey will take up the new role of Managing Director, Scripted and his new responsibilities will span BBC Studios’ existing teams in Drama Productions, Daytime, Continuing Drama Series and Comedy Productions, alongside its scripted labels (Lookout Point, Sid Gentle, Clerkenwell Films, Baby Cow Productions, House Productions), and the Scripted indie minority shareholdings and distribution relationships.
Tom McDonald, existing Managing Director, Factual, will continue to oversee BBC Studios’ Factual labels – The Documentary Unit, The Science Unit and The Natural History Unit – but with expanded responsibilities covering all of Factual’s content investment as well as factual indie relationships.
A Global Formats Group will be created from three existing areas of the business: Factual Entertainment & Events (FE&E), Entertainment & Music (E&M) and International Production & Formats (IP&F), and with BBC Studios’ indie partners. This group will focus on unscripted entertainment for the global market, chaired by Ralph, and including Martha Brass and respective Managing Directors Hannah Wyatt (FE&E), Matt Forde (IP&F) and Suzy Lamb (E&M).
Cecilia Persson, the recently announced Managing Director for Children’s, will lead BBC Studios Children’s genre activity, including the soon to be transferred BBC Children’s In-house Productions team, who join the commercial arm in April. Persson will oversee BBC Studios’ relationships with indies and content investment in this space.
BBC Studios CEO, Tom Fussell, said: “As both the UK’s most commissioned production company and its biggest distributor, BBC Studios is already delivering excellent growth with considerable future ambition. This move will both strengthen and simplify our content offer, securing our support for the very finest creative talent and stories, and benefitting audiences in the UK and internationally.”
Ralph Lee, CEO, BBC Studios Productions commented: “Our award-winning production business has evolved enormously in the four years since the UK production teams became commercial. Moving to a single view and strategy across all our content activities is a natural next step, creating bigger and broader opportunities for all our labels, partners and the talent we work with.”
Mark Linsey, MD, Scripted, BBC Studios Productions, said: “Having worked hand-in-hand with all our content and production teams during my time in BBC Studios, I am a big believer in the potential of this ‘one portfolio’ approach. Our customers around the world want distinctive, high-quality content: combining existing expertise means we can do this more quickly and efficiently while prioritising the best ideas.”
BBC Studios was created in April 2018 by the merger of two existing BBC subsidiaries: the BBC’s in-house production arm and BBC Worldwide, which oversaw the global distribution and commercialisation of IP through content sales, channels, international production and ancillaries. Further transformation followed in 2019, when BBC Studios became the sole owners of UKTV, and in 2021 the in-house content team for BBC Three and the commercial teams behind Global News joined the business. BBC Children’s Production will join in April 2022.
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