BBC Studios

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BBC Studios Limited
Formerly
  • BBC Ventures Group Limited (2002–2018)
  • BBC Studios Group Limited (April–October 2018)[1]
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryTelevision production
PredecessorBBC Worldwide
Founded27 February 2015; 8 years ago (27 February 2015)
HeadquartersTelevision Centre, London,
England
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Tom Fussell (CEO)[2]
BrandsBBC Earth
RevenueIncrease £2.7 billion (2022/23)
Increase £240 million (2022/23)
Total equitySteady £166.8 million (2021)
ParentBBC
Divisions
Subsidiaries
Websitebbcstudios.com

BBC Studios Limited is a British content company. It is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC that was formed in April 2018 through the merger of the BBC's commercial production arm and the BBC's commercial international distribution arm, BBC Worldwide. BBC Studios creates, develops, produces, distributes, broadcasts, finances and sells content around the world, returning around £200 million to the BBC annually in dividends and content investment.[3]

Overview[edit]

BBC Studios Productions brings together the majority of BBC Television's former in-house production departments; Factual, Drama, Comedy, (both combined as Scripted in the new division), Entertainment, and Music & Events.[4] BBC Children's production is set to move into BBC Studios Productions from April 2022 to increase the potential of taking British children's content to the wider global market, along with BBC Three's in-house production team, which is joining from April 2021.[5]

BBC News and BBC Radio remain separate internal production divisions in the BBC, and the rest of the former BBC Television division (channels and genre commissioning, including BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer) are part of the BBC Content division.

The BBC Studios production division was formed in 2016 and launched as a commercial entity in 2017,[6] enabling it to produce programming for other broadcasters and services to generate profit to return to the BBC to supplement licence fee income. In exchange, the BBC agreed to place production of much of its non-news programmes to tender, allowing third-party independents to compete with BBC Studios on bids to produce them.

The merger of BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide in 2018, brought the company in line with other major multinational studio conglomerates.

BBC Studios Productions was the UK's most commissioned creator of new content in 2019, with 77 new commissions from the BBC and third-parties. It achieved 73 awards and 202 nominations in 2019/2020.[7][8]

BBC Studios represents formats and programmes made by hundreds of independent producers, as well as its own production teams and returned £176m to the independent sector in 2018/2019.[9]

The company is on track to meet its five-year target of returning £1.2bn to the BBC by 2021/2022.[5] BBC Studios has committed to growing this total by a further 30% to a new target of £1.5bn in the five years from 2022/2023.[10]

History[edit]

BBC Studios Ltd. as a production company was first registered on 27 February 2015.[11] In September 2015, the BBC's general director Tony Hall announced a proposal to split the BBC's in-house production units for non-news television programming into a separate BBC Studios division, which would eventually, with BBC Trust approval as part of the next revision to the BBC's charter, be spun-out as a for-profit subsidiary of the BBC. This proposal would allow the BBC's units to produce programmes for other broadcasters and digital outlets (which could be done in conjunction with its international distribution arm BBC Worldwide) in addition to the BBC's publicly funded properties. As a for-profit company, BBC Studios would be allowed to pay higher wages to its executives and talent, and no longer face scrutiny over them as it did as a public entity.[12] The proposal was described by The Guardian as being "one of the biggest changes to the BBC in its 93-year history".[13]

The proposal attracted criticism from independent studios, who felt that it would result in the formation of a "super-indie" that would unduly benefit from "guaranteed" programme commissions from the BBC. As part of the split, the BBC planned to tender its programmes, so that independent producers and BBC Studios could bid for the rights to produce its non-news programming, outside of top shows (such as Doctor Who) assigned to BBC Studios.[12] The re-organisation and formation of BBC Studios as a division of the BBC was completed in April 2016.[14] In September 2016, the BBC announced that it would tender its non-news programmes over the next 11 years, beginning with programmes such as A Question of Sport, Holby City and Songs of Praise.[15][16][17]

In October 2016, the BBC announced that it planned to lay off 300 employees from the division seen as redundant.[13] In December 2016, BBC Studios announced that it had reached an agreement with Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) in regards to the tendering plan, stating that it would tender at least 40% of the "in-house guarantee" within two years of approval of the transition.[18] The BBC Trust subsequently approved the creation of BBC Studios as a commercial subsidiary, with the process expected to be completed in April 2017.[17][19][20]

On 29 November 2017, the BBC announced that BBC Worldwide would be merged into BBC Studios effective 1 April 2018. The BBC stated that by handling both the production and sales of its programming within one unit, it would improve efficiency and be in line with the "global norms" of other major international media companies.[21][22] Technically, BBC Ventures Group Ltd.[note 1] was renamed BBC Studios Group Ltd. on 3 April 2018, and then BBC Studios Ltd. 1 October 2018;[23] also in October, the production company established in 2015 was renamed BBC Studios Productions Ltd.,[11] and so did BBC Worldwide Ltd., which was renamed BBC Studios Distribution Ltd.[24]

In April 2019, BBC Studios announced various agreements with Discovery, Inc.; the companies agreed to break apart their UKTV joint venture, with Discovery (which had acquired a stake in UKTV after its purchase of Scripps Networks Interactive) acquiring the BBC's stake in UKTV's lifestyle channels, and BBC Studios likewise acquiring Discovery's stakes in UKTV's entertainment channels and the video on-demand service UKTV Play. In addition, Discovery announced a 10-year agreement with the BBC's Natural History Unit to acquire exclusive subscription video-on-demand rights to its content worldwide (which would be incorporated into a forthcoming global streaming brand), and co-fund a development team. Discovery had previously served as the Natural History's Unit U.S. partner until 2013.[25][26]

In August 2019, BBC Studios announced a long-term deal with WarnerMedia's upcoming HBO Max for streaming rights to past seasons of top BBC programmes such as Doctor Who, The Honourable Woman, Luther, and Top Gear.[27] In January 2020, it also sold second-window streaming rights to 14 series to CW Seed (a video on-demand platform operated by The CW, a television network co-owned by WarnerMedia).[28]

In February 2021, BBC Studios launched a new streaming brand in North America known as BBC Select, dedicated to factual content.[29] On 22 February 2021, BBC Studios signed a first-look deal with Gobstopper Group.[30]

In March 2021, it was announced that the BBC Children's Productions and BBC Global News units would also be transferred into BBC Studios. With the change, BBC Studios will handle international distribution and advertising sales for BBC World News, while the public service BBC News operation will assume editorial control of the channel.[31][32] More recently, the studio had set up a development deal with EbonyLife Media, which was affiliated with Sony Pictures Television, headed by Mo Abudu.[33]

In August 2022, it was revealed that BBC Studios planned to launch an international newsletter business, initially focusing on Canada and the US, the BBC's second largest non-UK news market behind India.[34]

In June 2023, BBC Studios announced the acquisition of Scandinavian production company STV (not to be confused with Scotland's STV Group). The Copenhagen-based company will be rebranded BBC Studios Nordic Productions.[35]

In October 2023, press reports confirmed that BBC Studios had reached a multi-million pound financial settlement to compensate Top Gear presenter Freddie Flintoff for the injuries he sustained in a car crash when filming a Top Gear episode in December 2022.[36]

Assets and brands[edit]

Television channels[edit]

International distribution only[edit]

  • BBC News - owned by BBC Global News and operated by BBC News
    • BBC News North America
    • BBC News Africa
    • BBC News South America
    • BBC News Europe (Expect UK & Ireland)
    • BBC News Middle East
    • BBC News South Asia
    • BBC News Asia
    • BBC News Australasia
  • CBBC
  • CBeebies

Brands[edit]

Label investments[edit]

BBC Studios has built up a stake in a variety of different production companies. [45]

BBC Records[edit]

BBC Records Logo

BBC Records was a division of the BBC founded in 1967 to commercially exploit the corporation's output for radio and television for both educational and domestic use.[62] In the 1990s licensing and marketing of the BBC's recorded output become the responsibility of BBC Worldwide (formerly BBC Enterprises), and the corporation ceased the direct release of recorded material, instead licensing its products to other companies. BBC Worldwide was merged into BBC Studios from 2018, which now licenses the use of the BBC logo on commercial recordings.

BritBox[edit]

Logo used (except UK) as of October 2022 with old BBC logo

BritBox is an over-the-top subscription video on-demand brand, which includes original programming commissioned or acquired by the company, and third-party content licensed from other UK channels such as BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. The service was announced by BBC Worldwide and ITV plc as a joint venture in 2016 and launched in 2017 in North America;[63][64] the international service remains a joint venture of BBC Studios and ITV plc.

A separately managed UK version of the service launched in 2019 but is now a fully owned subsidiary of ITV, after they announced in 2022 that they had bought out the BBC and its other partners with the intention of integrating the service with ITVX.[65]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Originally registered as FFW 1987 Ltd. on 18 June 2002, renamed as BBC Ventures Group Ltd. on 15 August 2002.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC Studios Limited overview - Find and update company information - GOV.UK". Companies House. 18 June 2002. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  2. ^ "Tom Fussell appointed CEO of BBC Studios" (Press release). BBC. 13 October 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Annual report and accounts". www.bbc.com.
  4. ^ Gannagé-Stewart, Hannah (7 January 2016). "BBC Studios takes shape". Broadcast.
  5. ^ a b "BBC children's TV overhaul will allow it to make shows for rivals". The Guardian. 10 March 2021.
  6. ^ "BBC Studios wins approval to launch as commercial entity". 20 December 2016.
  7. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (15 September 2020). "BBC Viewership Remains Strong in Marketplace That's 'Tougher Than Ever'".
  8. ^ "BBC Studios achieves record 19/20 performance". bbc.com. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  9. ^ "BBC Studios delivers creative and financial success in first year as merged company". bbc.com. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Children's part of BBC's "ambitious commercial plans"". Prolific North. 11 March 2021.
  11. ^ a b "BBC STUDIOS PRODUCTIONS LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk.
  12. ^ a b Conlan, Tara (16 September 2015). "Biggest shakeup ever to BBC could see hit shows moved to private sector". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  13. ^ a b Conlan, Tara (13 October 2016). "BBC Studios to cut 300 staff as hit shows move to private sector". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  14. ^ Conlan, Tara (2 May 2016). "BBC Studios: a win for talent or an own goal?". The Guardian.
  15. ^ Conlan, Tara (17 September 2016). "BBC woos independent producers after loss of Great British Bake Off". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Holby City among BBC shows out to tender". BBC News. 20 September 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  17. ^ a b "BBC to begin making programmes for other broadcasters". Radio Times. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  18. ^ "BBC, Pact outline policy framework for Studios proposal". Realscreen. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  19. ^ Williams, Christopher (20 December 2016). "BBC Studios wins go-ahead for commercial production push". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  20. ^ "BBC Studios approved to launch commercially". Realscreen. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  21. ^ Chu, Henry (29 November 2017). "BBC Worldwide, BBC Studios to Merge into Single Operation". Variety. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  22. ^ White, Peter (29 November 2017). "BBC To Merge BBC Worldwide & BBC Studios Into $1.9B Company". Deadline. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  23. ^ a b "BBC STUDIOS LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk.
  24. ^ "BBC STUDIOS DISTRIBUTION LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk.
  25. ^ "BBC to take control of UKTV in £180m deal with Discovery". The Guardian. 1 April 2019.
  26. ^ White, Peter (1 April 2019). "Discovery & BBC Reignite Global Content Deal With SVOD & UKTV Agreement, Six Years After Ending Previous Pact". Deadline. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  27. ^ "'Luther,' 'Doctor Who,' U.K. 'Office' Libraries Head to HBO Max in BBC Deal". The Hollywood Reporter. 1 August 2019.
  28. ^ Hayes, Dade (8 January 2020). "CW Seed Acquires 14 BBC Studios Shows In Non-Exclusive Streaming Pact". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  29. ^ "BBC Launches First Fully-Owned U.S. Streamer With BBC Select (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. 18 February 2021.
  30. ^ "BBC Studios inks first look deal with Gobstopper". Televisual. 22 February 2021. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  31. ^ "BBC Studios to take on BBC Children's Productions". Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  32. ^ "BBC Global News to become part of BBC Studios". Broadband TV News. 11 March 2021.
  33. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (29 November 2021). "BBC Studios Sets Development Deal With Mo Abudu's EbonyLife Media". Variety. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  34. ^ Silvera, Ian. "Inside the BBC's plan to enter the global newsletter market". www.news-future.com. Retrieved 18 August 2022.
  35. ^ Ravindran, Manori (22 June 2023). "BBC Studios Grows in Scandinavia With Acquisition of STV". Variety. Retrieved 22 June 2023.
  36. ^ BBC reaches '£9m' settlement with Andrew Flintoff over Top Gear crash Evening Standard, 13 October 2023. Retrieved 13 October 2023
  37. ^ "BBC WORLDWIDE RAPID BLUE". Archived from the original on 5 August 2021.
  38. ^ "BBC Active signals new partnership for BBC Worldwide and Pearson Education". BBC Press Office. 13 October 2005. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  39. ^ "BBC Worldwide partners with Random House Audio for new publishing and distribution deal". BBC Media Centre. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  40. ^ "Penguin Random House UK extends relationship with BBC Worldwide to become the global publisher and distributor of BBC Audio content" (Press release). The Random House Group. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  41. ^ "BBC Worldwide announces sale of majority shareholding in BBC Audiobooks". BBC Press Office. 14 July 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  42. ^ Sweney, Mark (14 July 2010). "BBC Audiobooks sold". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  43. ^ The Random House Group acquires majority shareholding in BBC Books BBC Press Office. 22 June 2006
  44. ^ "Penguin Books and BBC Worldwide form new venture for BBC Children's Books". BBC Press Office. 30 April 2004. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  45. ^ "Content Partnerships". www.bbcstudios.com.
  46. ^ "Glover and Raphael launch new Factual indie 72 Films with support from BBC Worldwide". BBC. 11 August 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  47. ^ Kevin Ritchie (16 December 2015). "BBC Worldwide buys into Amazing Productions". Realscreen. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  48. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (7 April 2016). "CEO/Co-Founder Henry Normal Exiting Steve Coogan's Baby Cow Productions; BBC Worldwide Increases Stake In Indie". Deadline. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  49. ^ BBC Media Centre (22 September 2022). "BBC Studios and Baby Cow Productions announce two brand new comedy shorts set to debut online". Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  50. ^ Andrew Dickens (20 October 2011). "BBCWW buys into Burning Bright". C21Media. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  51. ^ "BBC Studios takes full ownership of Clerkenwell Films, Murray Ferguson to exit". TBIVision. 19 January 2021.
  52. ^ "BBC Worldwide and Cuba Pictures deepen existing relationship". BBC. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  53. ^ Jake Kanter (29 April 2015). "BBCW takes 25% stake in Curve Media". Broadcast. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  54. ^ "BBC Worldwide invests in Expectation Entertainment". BBC. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  55. ^ "BBC Studios Acquires Full Ownership of Firebird Pictures". The Hollywood Reporter. 5 October 2022. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  56. ^ "BBC Studios Takes Full Ownership of House Productions". Variety. 14 December 2021. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  57. ^ "BBC Studios to establish Lookout Point as wholly-owned 'independent studio' within the company". BBC. 5 July 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  58. ^ "Sutcliffe and Rycroft launch 'Mighty' new indie with BBC Worldwide". BBC. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  59. ^ "BBC Studios invests in Moonage Pictures". BBC. 9 May 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  60. ^ "Killing Eve producer Sid Gentle acquired by BBC Studios". Variety. 17 October 2022. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  61. ^ Stewart Clarke (2 November 2017). "'Peep Show' Writers Set Up New Production Company With BBC Backing". Variety. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  62. ^ Marshall, Alex (15 May 2017). "The extraordinary, untold story of the world's weirdest record label". BBC Music. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  63. ^ "BBC – BBC Worldwide and ITV partner to bring new SVOD service BRITBOX to the US – Media Centre". BBC. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  64. ^ "BBC, ITV launch BritBox video streaming service in U.S." Reuters. 7 March 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  65. ^ Yossman, K. J. (3 March 2022). "ITV Buys Out BBC's Share of BritBox U.K." Variety. Retrieved 3 March 2022.

External links[edit]