BBC Worldwide returns record ?141m to BBC

MUMBAI: For the seventh successive year BBC Worldwide, the commercial consumer arm of the BBC, has increased its cash flow to the Corporation to supplement the licence fee income.

The figure of ?141 million for 2003/04 marks an increase of 14 per cent on the previous year's ?123 million.

In spite of an extremely challenging and competitive environment, sales from continuing operations, including joint ventures, rose three per cent year-on-year from ?640 million in 2002/03 to ?657 million in 2003/04.

In addition BBC Worldwide's profit, post exceptionals, rose to ?37 million from ?32 million in 2002/03. However due to the decline in the US dollar profit on continuing operations declined to ?37 million from ?44 million.

During the year, BBC Worldwide licensed more than 40,000 hours of programming around the world and grew its global network of TV channels to reach more than 340 million homes.

BBC Worldwide is responsible for around 50 per cent of the UK's total television sales. Factual and drama television programming such as D-Day, Pompeii, Colosseum, Sea Monsters were among the top sellers to broadcasters around the world.

In addition, BBC Worldwide licensed the formats to hit shows such as Great Britons, The Weakest Link, What Not to Wear, Top Of The Pops and Top Gear to broadcasters in dozens of territories.

The joint venture channels BBC Canada and BBC Kids, with Alliance Atlantis, together reached more than 1.4 million subscribers last year. General entertainment channel BBC Prime increased its distribution to 14.6 million homes in Europe, Middle East and Africa and celebrated five years in Africa by posting a 65 per cent increase in ad revenue. BBC Food grew ad sales in Africa by 200 per cent.

BBC Magazines sold over 100 million copies of its titles during the year. It reaches almost one in five of all UK adults every month. In India it announced a joint venture with Bennett & Coleman the publisher of The Times of India. As per this the two parties are looking at coming out with titles for India.

BBC Worldwide CEO Rupert Gavin said, "These record results are remarkable in a period of global recession which has hit the TV and advertising markets hard. We have made our most significant contribution to BBC programming ever. The cash flow return of ?141 million means that we add nearly ?6 per year to the value of every licence fee in the UK."

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