This follows an 18 month-long review of the BBC’s commercial activities, setting out changes to the future remit of BBC Worldwide.
The BBC Executive’s strategy for BBC Worldwide is now to develop a more integrated and ‘balanced’ internationally-focused portfolio that, within the agreed parameters, balances the need for growth with acceptable levels of risk. BBC Worldwide should also seek to invest in growth businesses which offer new rights monetisation opportunities.
The BBC Trust will undertake reviews of the BBC News channel, BBC Parliament, Radio 5 Live, Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, the Asian Network and BBC local radio in England within the coming year, it announced today. All BBC services are reviewed on a five-yearly basis by the Trust and this year will see the turn of the above stations.
The National Audit office is being brought in to review the value for money of the BBC’s efficiency savings and the cost of overheads.
The broadcaster is facing a tough year ahead after a freeze in the licence fee until 2017 and planning to take on additional responsibilities, including for funding the World Service, BBC Monitoring and the Welsh-language channel S4C.
The BBC plan pledges to focus on quality and to be more transparent about top-level pay and expenses.
Every BBC programme (or piece of online content) should have a distinctive BBC quality, displaying at least one of the following: high editorial standards; creative and editorial ambition; range and depth; and UK focused content and indigenous talent.
The BBC needs to do more to address concerns about making effective use of the licence fee, particularly in relation to talent costs and top management pay and expenses.
Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has agreed to appoint Diane Coyle as vice chairman of the BBC Trust, the department for culture, media and sport said today,
According to a release this followed an open recruitment process and Hunt has now submitted his recommendation to Privy Council to seek the Queen’s formal approval of the appointment.
Coyle, a former economics editor of the Independent, is already a serving member of the BBC Trust.
In a statement, outgoing BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons said he welcomed the confirmation that Coyle had been put forward for the role.
“Diane has made an important contribution to the work of the Trust in its first four years, particularly in leading the Trust’s work on public value. I’m sure that in this expanded role Diane will be looking forward to the opportunity to bring her wisdom, insight and consistent good humour to even more of the Trust’s work.”
Earlier this month Lord Patten was approved by the Culture, Media and Sport select committee as a “suitable candidate” for the role of chairman of the BBC Trust after being named as the government’s preferred candidate in February.
The Trust’s report included reference to detailed plans to halve the number of ‘top level domains’ (TLDs), e.g. bbc.co.uk/xxx.
Following the announcement managing editor of BBC Online, Ian Hunter, has published a post on the BBC Internet blog outlining progress in the restructure so far, such as decisions on how best to manage legacy content from sites which have become out of date.
You can read more here, where Hunter also provides a useful link to a list of TLDs which are earmarked for closure before the end of the year.
They are going to cut 25 per cent of staff – and yet every time they are asked which sites and which staff, they refer to mothballed sites, links that just redirect or pages that haven’t been updated since 2006. So we ask the question again – come clean. Which sites and which staff are to be axed. You are paid lots of money. You’ve had months to come up with the plan. So tell us. Or do you intend to wait until the consultation is over, then spring it on staff and readers.
The National Audit Office’s (NAO) report into the BBC’s expenditure on its recent building projects – the redevelopment of Broadcasting House in London and the construction of Pacific Quay in Glasgow and Salford Quay in Greater Manchester – will be published on Thursday.
The report, which was commissioned by the BBC Trust, will be available in full on the Trust’s website and the NAO site from Thursday, it has been confirmed to Journalism.co.uk, despite reports suggesting it would be released today.
One focus point of the review will be ‘streamlining the BBC’s online services’ to ‘narrow the focus on distinctive content and help to create a more open BBC’, the Trust said in a release yesterday.
This includes considering which online services could be stopped
“The Trust recognises external concerns over scale and growth of BBC online operations. Equally, it’s an immensely popular service with audiences and an important tool for the UK economy,” said Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the Trust.
“We have no intention of diluting BBC commitment to universal access to free news online. But beyond that we want to question honestly what licence fee payers really expect to get from their licence fee and what they might be surprised to see the BBC doing in the online world.”
Additionally, sharing or linking the BBC’s websites with other public or not-for-profit cultural and creative organisations, such as community radio services, should be looked at, the Trust recommended.
The first findings of the review will be published in early 2010 and opened to public consultation.
“In this role, you’ll be translating complex material into reports which engage with our audiences. You’ll be working for both bulletins and programmes (e.g. Local Radio Breakfast and Drivetime shows) and providing material for regional TV news and weekly political programmes on BBC One. You’ll cover the next General Election campaign,” the job ad description explains.
Improvements to local TV and radio news, including coverage of local government
“This is the first tranche of roles that we intend to create over the next few years focused on enhanced BBC coverage of local democracy on both local radio and regional television as part of improving local linear services to regions and communities,” a BBC spokeswoman told Journalism.co.uk.
“The overall package is part of a process of re-investment from our own efficiencies and we don’t expect there to be any net increase in jobs over the whole of the package which will roll out over the next 4/5 years.”
The BBC Trust today launched ‘the largest and most significant service review’ of television that is has ever undertaken, and seeks views on BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four. A 12 week public consultation is now underway.
“This forms part of the Trust’s regular series of reviews and will be the largest and most significant service review the Trust has undertaken. BBC One and BBC Two are the two most popular services that the BBC operates. It will be the first time that the Trust has looked at these services,” said Diane Coyle, BBC Trustee, who is leading the review.
The review will look at all content on the channels including news and nations and regions output, the Trust outlined. The BBC News Channel and BBC Parliament will be examined in the future.
The BBC Trust was yesterday criticised by MPs’ in a select committe report, over the body’s handling of the corporation’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide.
Last week the culture minister, Ben Bradshaw, speaking at last week’s Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge, said there could be a case for a ’smaller licence fee’ and also suggested that the BBC Trust model is not ‘sustainable’.