Advanced Television

BBC Studios ramps up borrowing

March 6, 2024

BBC Studios (BBCS) has upped its borrowing capacity to £600 million (€700m) this year as it looks to increase investment in UK and international programming.

It comes quickly after BBCS acquired ITV Studios’ stake in streaming service Britbox for £255 million. The company’s borrowing facility had stood at just £350 million in 2022 but will push to the ceiling to £750 million by 2027.

Tom Fussell, BBCS CEO, told The FT he is looking to spend “tens of millions” of pounds to uncover new kids and family shows, and “investing heavily in the content and marketing” of UKTV Play. The BBCS-owned streamer is being rebranded this year in a bid to secure bigger UK audiences.

Fussell said that he is also looking to secure IP from novels to bolster its production slate and increase its work with streamers, although the investment is set to reduce profitability in 2024.

The acquisition and the increased borrowing may raise some eyebrows in the commercial sector. In 2022 Ofcom questioned the structure of some copro deals between the BBC and BBCS, asking the BBC to show they were properly arms-length and not advantaging BBCS at the expense of the licence payer.

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