BBC Worldwide sales hit £1.16bn in a year


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The Independent Online

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".