The Beeb says it will plough the money into its own channels, including BBC America. It wants to concentrate on its own channels exclusively as opposed to running 50% of Animal Planet and Liv, the Latin American entertainment channel. It’s not as if BBC Worldwide, the broadcaster’s for-profit arm, is getting out of channels that are failing. Ratings for Animal Planet, which reaches 250 million homes, are up year-to-date. Discovery Communications reported improved 3rd quarter financials at the beginning of this month, driven by US advertising growth of 16% and 23% internationally. For the full year 2010, Discovery expects to make a profit of $650-700 million on revenue of $3.8 billion. And the BBC has extended its co-production and acquisitions partnership with Discovery for 2 more years, to 2014. Rather, it’s been told to sell its stakes in non-branded BBC channels by oversight body the BBC Trust. It’s been a victim of its own success, media analyst Kate Bulkley tells me. “There have been calls that Worldwide tips the playing field in its favour because it controls such important BBC content assets and wields the world-recognised BBC brand,” she says.
But Discovery and the BBC may find themselves sharing some more channels very soon. Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks are vying to become BBC Worldwide’s new partner in UKTV, the broadcaster behind UK digital channels Dave, Watch and Gold, it has emerged. Virgin Media wants to sell its 50% share of UKTV.
Deadline reported that Fox is acquiring U.S. distribution rights and several international territories to the 3D movie version of BBC Worldwide’s Walking With Dinosaurs. The $65 million budget CG/live-action family film is a co-production between BBC Earth – the BBC’s new label which sells branded programming blocks to TV networks around the world — and India’s Reliance Big Pictures.
The BBC was hit hard yesterday with what amounts to a 16% budget cut. The annual amount UK viewers must pay will stay at £145.50 ($229) for 6 years. The BBC is also being forced to pick up the cost of World Service and foot … Read More »
Loach, giving the keynote speech at the London Film Festival, ridiculed senior TV executives, such as James Murdoch using last year’s Edinburgh TV Festival’s annual MacTaggart Lecture to sound off. Loach said: “I knew Jimmy MacTaggart and I have to tell … Read More »
The BBC’s in-house drama department is cutting 16% of its workforce. That’s 22 jobs out of the 140-strong BBC’s drama department. BBC in-house drama has already had its budget cut by 5% year on year. And the amount spent on TV drama will fall by 33 percent in 2010/11. The BBC’s £3.5 billion ($5.5 billion) licence fee has also been frozen this year and could be cut next year. Drama jobs are being cut across the board –- not just back-room staff but also script editors and producers as well. Jobs within series and serials are particularly affected. The BBC is now talking to staff about their taking voluntary packages. A decision about who is going will be made by early December. Read More »
Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, says he’s upbeat over government negotiations to renew the £3.5 billion ($5.5 billion) licence fee. Talks over the next 4-year licence fee settlement, which runs 2013-16, are due to start next summer. The … Read More »
The BBC Trust, the Beeb’s internal regulator, is to give government spending watchdog the National Audit Office free rein to scrutinise its accounts. The Beeb is bowing to government pressure to give the NAO unfettered access to what it spends. This means that top BBC talent could have their salaries published for the first time. Plus many BBC stars make their shows for the Beeb through their own production companies. BBC stars who own their own production companies include Steve Coogan Read More »
UPDATE: In announcing the freeze, the BBC has bowed to the inevitable. New UK Prime Minister David Cameron first called for the licence fee to be frozen in March. TV consultant Claire Enders of Enders Analysis tells me this is a ”sensible approach from the BBC to accept that it does not require this additional income to fulfill its responsibilities.” And budget trims of 3% sound measly at a time government departments are facing 25% reductions. But BBC Trust, the Beeb’s governing body, warns that £144 million will have to be chopped from planned budgets. Responds the TV Producers’ lobbyist PACT: “We are alarmed at what impact this may have on the TV programme budget and the consequences that any further reduction will have on individual programme budgets, which are already Read More »
UPDATE: Danny Cohen has already been promised the job for promising not to apply for Chief Creative Officer job at Channel 4, I’m told. Hunt joins Channel 4 as CCO in early January. Julian Bellamy, who has been acting CCO, will exit the network after a handover period. Hunt has only been with BBC1 for 2½ years, where her successes include Sherlock and, to a lesser extent, Luther. Before that she was controller of BBC Daytime. Hunt’s new job will have Read More »
As expected, BBC director general Mark Thompson has gone on the attack against the Murdochs and News Corp. He warned that Sky will shortly become Britain’s biggest broadcaster and said such a concentration of cross-media ownership would not be … Read More »
Thompson will attack Sky tonight during his Mactaggart lecture speech at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival. Thompson will point to the vast scale of Sky and its influence over the UK broadcasting industry. He will compare the £2 … Read More »
So says a new report on the future of the BBC, published by the Adam Smith Institute, known for its free-market views. The report, Global Player Or Subsidy Junkie?, argues that the BBC is far too inward looking. Its dependence … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The UK government is considering handing over the £15 million of lottery film production cash, which the UK Film Council currently handles, to public broadcasters the BBC and Channel 4. Ed Vaizey, the government arts minister, has talked about … Read More »
BBC Trust, Auntie’s oversight body, has approved the on-demand UK digital TV service. Project Canvas will enable the BBC’s hugely-popular iPlayer service available to TVs for the first time. Canvas – which is likely to be renamed YouView – is set … Read More »