BBC Worldwide sales hit £1.16bn in a year


Selling TV hits such as the natural history series Africa and Strictly Come Dancing around the world helped the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, to boost sales by 3 per cent to £1.16 billion in the year to March.

But Worldwide faced fresh controversy as the annual report revealed more details about departing chief executive John Smith's £1.6 million pay package in his final nine months.

Smith, who left in December, got a salary of £337,000, a short-term bonus of £222,000, long-term bonuses of £582,000 and compensation for loss of office of £449,000. He also walked away with a £5.8 million pension pot.

The generous deal came despite the BBC selling travel business Lonely Planet at an £80 million loss in March.

Following the recent row over BBC pay-offs, it emerged Smith has since given back £250,000 in compensation as he has joined Burberry.

BBC Director-General Lord Hall said  he wants to "review governance" at Worldwide. The remuneration report also hinted that bonuses will be curbed as the long-term scheme, the Profit Share Plan, has ended. "No decision has yet been taken" to replace it.

Worldwide's headline profits rose 1% at £156.3 million despite a "tough" economy and negotiations with pay-TV firms becoming "even more difficult".