The BBC Trust, the Board of the BBC and the Board of BBC Worldwide have a single joint objective: a BBC Worldwide that is a confident, viable company which delivers the best possible return to licence-fee payers and which delivers a real benefit to the UK's creative economy.
This objective BBC Worldwide has achieved in the year 2009/10. Its sales again exceeded a billion pounds; profits reached record levels, as recited elsewhere in this Review.
In discussing such figures, it is important to remember a few essential facts. The first is that all the returns generated by the company are retained by the BBC and thus go to give better value for money to every single licence-fee payer.
The second is that BBC Worldwide acts not only for the BBC. It distributes programmes and products for, and makes programmes and products with, an array of independent UK companies and producers, all of whom benefit from the commercial skills and international presence that it can deploy. The success of BBC Worldwide is aligned with success for the whole UK creative and media industry. BBC Worldwide already delivers around 10% of the UK's total creative economy exports. The existence of BBC Worldwide is a help to the whole commercial creative sector. That success is critical to the UK creative economy as a whole.
Thirdly, BBC Worldwide operates to the same high principles and values as does its parent body. Its editorial principles, the tone of the commercial activities it allows, and the standards followed in the conduct of its business are as high as would be found in the best of public service broadcasting. Not only do its activities comply with the BBC's Four Commercial Criteria, which govern the scope of its operation, but they also comply with the ethical spirit expected of the main body of the BBC. In that respect, BBC Worldwide can truly claim to be a worthy ambassador for Britain and for Britain's talent around the world.
One of the tasks of the past year has been to improve the governance of the company and, where appropriate, to apply the principles of The Combined Code. To this end, we have reduced the size of the Board and ensured that Non-executive Directors are in the majority. This process continues but it is for me to thank, at this moment, all senior management and the retiring Chairman, Etienne de Villiers, who helped to achieve the success which the company has recently enjoyed. An example of that success is that, in the USA, the launch of Life, narrated by Oprah Winfrey, was viewed by more than 33m people. The BBC Charter requires us to bring the UK to the world - BBC Worldwide does exactly that.
As well as those who are retiring, we welcome those who are new
to the Board. Tim Weller, a new Non-executive Director comes from
outside the BBC where he is Chief Financial Officer of Cable &
Wireless Worldwide, and Sharon Baylay joined
from within the BBC where she is Director of Marketing, Communications & Audiences. She replaces Director of BBC Vision, Jana Bennett, to make the separation between BBC Vision (the BBC's production, content and multiplatform division) and BBC Worldwide even clearer.
The task that remains for me in this Review is to thank our staff, partners and customers for their support. We shall continue to do our best for you all. We hope, as the next year develops, to continue to be of value to the UK, to the BBC and to all who enjoy what we do.
Chairman, BBC Worldwide
BBC Worldwide must demonstrate compliance with the BBC's Four Commercial Criteria (4CC).All commercial activities must: