BBC Director General's plans for a 'competitive revolution' welcomed with enthusiasm
Britain’s independent television production sector said the plans were 'good for the BBC, good for licence fee payers and good for business'
Ian Burrell is Assistant Editor and Media Editor at The Independent, i paper and Independent on Sunday. He covers news from the whole media sector from television, press, radio and advertising to technology. His weekly column on the media appears every Monday in The Independent and i paper. He also writes on media, music and culture, including long-form pieces for The Independent’s Saturday magazine and the Independent on Sunday’s magazine, New Review. He is a regular presenter of BBC Radio 4’s What The Papers Say and a specialist commentator to Monocle 24 radio. He has contributed to most major broadcast outlets including BBC television and radio, CNN, Sky News, Al Jazeera and LBC. He has also written on media for GQ magazine. Ian has been reporting on the media industry for The Independent for more than a decade. Previously he was the newspaper’s Home Affairs Editor. He worked at The Sunday Times for five years, including as a member of the investigative Insight team, covering stories on political funding, industrial espionage and the arms industry. Previously he worked in ITV for London Weekend Television, on a weekly current affairs programme presented by Danny Baker. Ian trained at the Birmingham Post & Mail and was Regional Reporter of the Year in Press Gazette’s national awards.
Thursday 10 July 2014
The Director General of the BBC has promised that his plans for a “competitive revolution” at the broadcaster will deliver a “world class BBC – not a low-rent BBC”.
Tony Hall’s plans to open up the organisation to a new era of competition were enthusiastically welcomed yesterday by Britain’s independent television production sector as “good for the BBC, good for licence fee payers and good for business”.
In a speech intended to shape the debate on the BBC’s Royal Charter beyond 2016, Lord Hall called for the BBC’s production teams to be able to compete commercially to make programmes for rival broadcasters both in the UK and overseas.
“If independent producers can take their ideas to any broadcaster around the world, I would want the same for BBC Production,” he said. “We’re up for a discussion as to whether they should offer ideas to other UK broadcasters. But the world should definitely be their market.”
In return, the broadcaster would allow all of its own output – rather than the current level of 50 per cent – to be subject to tenders from outside suppliers.
John McVay, chief executive of the independent sector’s trade body PACT, said it had been calling for such an approach for two decades. “Tony Hall’s commitment to liberalising in-house production should be welcomed both inside the BBC and by its suppliers. We look forward to working with the BBC Executive in the coming months to identify how this can be achieved in order to deliver the best value for money for licence fee payers.”
The Channel 4 chairman Lord Burns said that his organisation would take BBC shows “if they are good enough and meet our remit” but added that he “would be nervous” if the BBC’s presence in the market “would squeeze” the independent sector.
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