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Proposals for BBC Studios unveiled

The BBC has published a document setting out more details of its ambition to transform the majority of its in-house production unit into BBC Studios.

Under the proposals, BBC Studios would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BBC Group and operate in the market. It would produce programmes for the BBC and other broadcasters in the UK and internationally, and return all profits to the BBC Group.

It will be committed to supporting the BBC’s public service mission and values, and will keep programme-making at the heart of the BBC, producing much loved titles such as Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, EastEnders and Big Blue Live.

As part of these plans, the BBC is also proposing to remove its overall in-house guarantee of 50 per cent, meaning that external producers would be able to compete for a much greater proportion of BBC network commissioning spend. The BBC believes this proposal is the best way to keep delivering fantastic creative programmes for audiences and long-term value for licence fee payers.

A consultation about the proposals will now be carried out by the BBC Trust.

Commenting on the proposals in a speech at the Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention, BBC Director-General Tony Hall said BBC Studios would have the values and quality of the BBC – a mission to inspire audiences at home and around the world with bold British creativity.

“It will find and nurture the next generation of British on-screen and back-stage talent in drama, comedy, science, natural history – and more. It will be distinctive in the market. It will delight in range and specialism, making the full range of genres and not just those with the most commercial appeal. It will operate across the UK. It will ensure the full value of BBC-made content is returned to the licence fee payer,” he advised.

“But please note this. It will be vital. It will stimulate the sector. But it will not be dominant. There must be a level playing field. We estimate it will have a share of under 15 per cent of the UK production market. And it will operate at arms-length. There will be no cross-subsidy from the licence fee. And it will be stringently and independently regulated,” he confirmed.

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