The BBC Trust Content Supply Review has concluded the current limits in place for independent radio suppliers should be reviewed.
The report says the time is right time to consider changes, but is keeping the current quota of 10%, plus a further 10% Window of Creative Competition, in place for now.
“Establishing the optimum size of the WoCC, the level and role of the independent quota, and the most appropriate scale of in-house provision under any new arrangements requires further detailed analysis. The Executive are undertaking this as part of their work under the ‘compete or compare’
strategy,” the Trust says.
In reaction, the Radio Independents Group says it is disappointed with the outcome. Managing Director Will Jackson told RadioToday: “Three independent analyses of the indie radio sector in the last 16 months have recommended that the BBC should significantly grow opportunities for indies to produce radio content. We are therefore disappointed that the Trust has not gone further and clearly recommended a substantial increase in opening up the radio schedules to indies.”
“However we are continuing to work with the BBC on its ‘Compete or Compare’ initiative, which we very much welcome, and we hope that this will produce a much greater level of competition for ideas to the benefit of the Licence Fee payer.
“We note the report makes recommendations that for BBC Television, the in-house production guarantee should be reduced or removed, and that the BBC strengthen its working with indie TV producers in the nations and regions – we will be working to see that emulated in radio.
“The Trust does state that any alterations to the BBC radio schedules could be made ahead of Charter Review, and we are certainly hoping that Compete or Compare will lead to significant changes prior to the conclusion of the current Charter period at the end of 2016.
“The report also states that many respondents emphasised a well-funded BBC, with the ability to maintain a strong level of investment in content production, is vital for the sustainability of the UK’s creative industries. RIG very much is supporting efforts to ensure that the BBC remains strong and will continue to have a range of highly-appreciated radio services for the foreseeable future.”
Currently 25 per cent of BBC TV production is guaranteed to independent producers, under the 2003 Communications Act.