Television

BBC & Pact outline policy framework for BBC Studios

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MUMBAI: The BBC has entered into an agreement with the British trade association Pact regarding the BBC Studios proposal.

The proposed policy framework will “strengthen the UK production sector and bring substantial benefits in terms of opening up new commissioning opportunities to competition.”

BBC director of strategy and digital James Purnell says, “We welcome the agreement reached with Pact. Creative competition is in the best interest of audiences and BBC Studios is an essential part of the BBC's future.”

Pact CEO John McVay adds, “Pact is pleased that we have been able to negotiate a progressive agreement with the BBC that will result in even more competition at the BBC for the best programmes regardless of who makes them. This will build on the success of the WOCC and ensure BBC licence fee payers continue to enjoy the best of British.”

The new charter and agreement will set out a policy framework for the relationship between BBC Public Service, BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide.  The proposal is that the agreement should include a set of guiding principles for how BBC Studios, as a commercial entity, should operate, and its relationship with the BBC Public Service. Additionally, there should be no cross-subsidy from BBC Public Service to BBC Studios; a separation between the finances and operations of BBC Public Service and BBC Studios; and fair transfer pricing.

The proposal also states that there should be an “arms’ length commissioning, with commissions offered to BBC Studios subject to the same range of published tariffs and terms as are available to external producers.”

BBC Studios will receive new commissions, creatively tendered established/returning series and the opportunities afforded by de-commissions, following fair and transparent competition with third party producers.

The BBC Board would set out methodologies and processes for meeting the above principles prior to BBC Studios being launched as a commercial entity. Additionally, BBC Studios will be set up and operated to ensure compliance with State Aid requirements.

As was previously set out, the BBC Studios proposal will exclude Network TV commissioned content for children’s, current affairs and sport. For current affairs, the BBC proposes to reduce the current in-house guarantee on eligible hours from 50 per cent to 40 per cent and extend the independent guarantee from 25 per cent to 40 per cent, creating a 25 per cent swing when these two changes are added together. For children’s, the BBC proposes to reduce the in-house guarantee on eligible hours from 50 per cent to 40 per cent and extend the independent guarantee from 25 per cent to 40 per cent. The BBC proposes that these changes are phased-in over a two year period from the new charter. For sport, the current in-house and independent guarantees would remain unchanged. Content made by BBC Studios, as a commercial entity, would not count as "in-house" and therefore would not count as part of in-house quota.

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