RTL: “BBC Worldwide distorts market”

Tony Cohen, the chief executive of RTL subsidiary Fremantle Media, which co-produces The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, has accused the BBC’s commercial arm of “distorting the market” for British television producers operating overseas.

Cohen told the Royal Television Society that BBC Worldwide pushed up the price of assets and properties for commercial rivals globally. Cohen pointed to investments made by BBC Worldwide in small production companies in Canada, Russia and Australia – as well as its decision to develop drama for the US market and other programmes abroad.

Cohen’s comments prompted a dismissive response from John Smith, BBC Worldwide chief executive, who said that “the idea that Worldwide is distorting the market is ridiculous” given that the business has “a US market share of 0.2 per cent”.

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