A review and public consultation has been launched by the BBC Trust looking at the way that BBC programmes and content are supplied to the BBC by either independent production companies or BBC in-house production.
It follows structural changes and consolidation in the independent production sector in recent years, and proposals set out by the BBC’s Director General Tony Hall in July 2014 to open up the content supply system to more competition.
At the moment, the Trust requires the BBC to commission at least 10 per cent of radio production from independent suppliers, with a further 10 per cent open to competition between the BBC and independent sector.
Six draft principles have been set out under which BBC content supply would operate in future, aiming to deliver the best results for licence fee payers and for the creative sector:
- Securing high-quality and creative content across all genres;
- Providing value for money to licence fee payers;
- Using a wide range and diversity of supply across all genres and from across the UK
- Securing a sustainable production supply, in terms of capacity and skills
- Retaining sufficient commercial value and control of content rights, to secure a return on investment for licence fee payers and ensure that both the BBC and the creators of content receive a fair share of the commercial value of content
- Maintaining appropriate separation between publicly funded BBC activity and its commercial services.
In reaction, the Radio Independents Group wants radio indies to get more than a 20% window. MD Will Jackson told RadioToday: “Tony Hall’s desire to have more competition needs to be realised in radio as well as TV. The Trust’s 2010 radio supply review concluded that the BBC should do more to commission the best ideas regardless of source, but radio commissioning still remains at least 80% in-house.
“This important new review provides a great opportunity for indie radio production companies across the UK to highlight how much more creativity, ideas and talent they could give to Licence Fee Payers.
“”We’re in the process of conducting the biggest-ever census of the indie audio production sector, which will inform our full response to the Trust in due course.”
The public consultation is seeking views from the industry and those interested in the supply of content to the BBC, on whether these are the right principles; how far the current arrangements deliver on them and whether this is likely to change; how the principles can best be fulfilled over the next ten years; and whether any programme genres or types of content justify a different approach.