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BBC unveils independent studio

The BBC is moving ahead with plans to relax production quotas and allow its in-house team to pitch to rival broadcasters with the launch of a new division.

Tony Hall,

Tony Hall,

The UK pubcaster’s director general, Tony Hall, today unveiled BBC Studios, which will operate independently of BBC Television and will be established over the next six to 12 months.

The division would be able to produce programming for any broadcaster in the UK or internationally as part of the corporation’s previously announced “compete and compare” strategy, which aims to encourage more competition to drive up standards and reduce costs.

The current requirement for 50% of the BBC’s programming to be produced in-house would also be dropped under the plans, which were first revealed by Hall last July.

The process to recruit a BBC Studios head, reporting to the director general and part of the BBC executive team, has begun.

While it will compete in a commercial landscape, BBC Studios will still have a public service mission, Hall confirmed. The prodco would focus on “inspiring audiences with bold British creativity.”

Some genres, like children’s and sport, will not be included as they have different production models and market characteristics. Further work is also required to see how production currently taking place around the UK home nations will be effected.

The move to a competitive model is subject to agreement with the BBC Trust and will form part of the corporation’s charter renewal, which is due at the end of 2016.

Hall said: “One only has to look at the incredible richness and range of the current BBC Production portfolio – a range no other studio can match – to understand how important it is that we ensure BBC Production continues to flourish creatively in the future.

“I want BBC Studios to play a great part in this new golden age of broadcasting. This is important. We want to get it right. We will get it right. And we’ll take our time to ensure we do just that.”

Last week an influential report from a group of UK MPs said the BBC’s licence fee model could be scrapped and attacked the pubcaster for spending money on entertainment formats such as The Voice.

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