The BBC has published its annual plan for 2019/20. The corporation says the plan “makes central our commitment to bold and creative programme making, innovation in how we deliver services, impartial journalism in a rapidly changing world”.
The annual plan sets out how the BBC will build on the success of programmes like Bodyguard, A Very English Scandal and Dynasties. Highlights for the year ahead, include Line of Duty, Gentlemen Jack, and His Dark Materials (pictured) in drama, Strictly Come Dancing and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK in entertainment, and One Planet: Seven Worlds and the Our Planet Matters season for factual.
The BBC states it will work to improve and build on the returns it makes through its commercial ventures to ensure more money can be spent on content. The BBC and ITV have recently announced the intention to launch BritBox – a commercial VoD partnership – to strengthen and secure public service broadcasting for the future. The BBC anticipates this being launched towards the end of 2019.
In Radio, the BBC says it will deliver creative new programming, alongside the shows loyal audiences continue to love. Highlights include a new landmark series from Radio 4 which will examine the relationship between art and science, a fresh take on Thackeray’s comic masterpiece Vanity Fair, and Radio 3 will explore the notion of twilight in literature and the arts. Across the BBC’s music networks, stations will champion new talent, specialist music and live performances.
The plan also demonstrates how the BBC will continue to reinvent public service broadcasting for a new generation – a challenge which has increased in both importance and urgency amid a fast-changing media landscape. These include content aimed at younger audiences, but also innovation in how content is delivered. The BBC has also proposed improvements to iPlayer, which will require a decision from Ofcom. In audio, the BBC will continue to work with the whole sector to enhance our BBC Sounds offering in an evolving market and will continue to focus on increased personalisation of the app.
In journalism, the plan also highlights how the BBC will also strengthen its unique global voice, as Britain seeks to reshape its relationship with the world. Audiences will see more of ‘Reality Check’ fact-checking at the heart of daily news output.
In the year ahead, the BBC Board is also expected to make a decision on the future of free licences for the over 75s. An announcement is expected early summer.
Tony Hall, Director General, said: “Today, the BBC enhances the lives of almost everyone in the UK. Around 44 million British people use us every day – more than 90 per cent of the adult population every week. All broadcasters face the challenges of a fast changing media landscape. The BBC can meet those challenges and succeed in the future, just as we have succeeded in the past. We will achieve success by continuing to place British creativity at the heart of our program making. Our ambition is to deliver the very best, most distinctive, British content of any broadcaster. The string of hits and award winning programmes of the past twelve months shows that we can deliver. We will build on that in the months ahead to meet the rising expectations of the public.”
“Our journalism must continue to ask the difficult questions and hold those in power to account. The role of our journalism at home and abroad has never been more important in a fast changing and uncertain world. And where we have big decisions to make that will impact the shape and future of the BBC, we will make them carefully and responsibly. We will always put the public and our audiences first, ” Hall concluded.
David Clementi, Chairman of the BBC, added: “This plan lays the foundations for the continued success of the BBC. It has creativity and journalistic integrity at its heart and will ensure we continue to deliver great programming and journalism to the public. The BBC will of course, like many organisations, face challenges in the months and years ahead, but our plans mean that the public will have a huge amount to look forward to.”