The BBC’s programming budget should be opened up to more commercial competition according to BBC director-general Tony Hall, who today unveiled plans for a “revolution” at the organisation.
Under his proposals, rival broadcasters such as the ITV production arm ITV Studios could be able to make BBC shows like Doctor Who and the Strictly Come Dancing.
But the BBC could also be allowed to make programmes for ITV, Channel 4 and other broadcasters for the first time in its history, according to Hall – in a speech delivered today he also called for the Corporation’s in-house programme-making departments to be free to produce shows for rival channels.
Hall wants BBC in-house TV production to be hived off into a separate commercial subsidiary making programmes for both the Corporation and other broadcasters.
He said in his speech at The Future of the Licence Fee event at London’s City University, today: “If independent producers can take their ideas to any broadcaster around the world, I would want the same for the BBC.
“Proper competition and entrepreneurialism requires a level playing field. We should have regulation in the TV supply market only where it’s needed so that we can let creativity flourish… A level playing field doesn’t tilt.”
Already many of the BBC’s heartland shows are not produced by the Corporation.
In fact, 25% of BBC output is required by law to be made by independent production companies and another 25% is up for grabs under the so-called Window Of Creative Competition system or Wocc that has been in place for a number of years.
Among BBC stalwarts made outside the Corporation are University Challenge – which is made by ITV Studios – and Sherlock, which comes from series co-creator Steven Moffat’s independent production company Hartswood Films.
The Great British Bake Off is also made outside the Corporation by indie company Love Productions, currently in the process of confirming a deal with Sky in which the rival broadcaster is expected to take a majority stake.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.