in new content
Increase investment in new content
Over the last year, BBC Worldwide has invested £98.6m in
distribution rights, three-quarters of which was into BBC
commissions. We have produced and licensed 36 formats in 43
countries around the world.
Why new content investment?
As audiences' tastes and viewing habits change, we are changing
the way we look at and develop content. BBC IP is the cornerstone
of our content strategy and forms the vast majority of investments
we make. This investment is even more crucial to fund BBC
programmes after a tighter licence fee settlement. We need
increasing levels of content to fuel the growth ambitions of all
our businesses and so we also look to supplement the BBC content in
our pipeline with programmes from other sources. Understanding the
needs of different markets and having a flexible approach to
addressing them is vital, and we are finding innovative ways to
bring commissioners, producers and other partners together.
How are we doing it?
We are committed to enhancing the benefits we bring to the BBC
and to independent production companies by providing producers with
greater expertise and market understanding. To that end, our
Content & Production business was restructured in February,
from three teams (acquiring rights from the BBC, from independent
producers and a strategy team) to five genre-focused teams
(factual, drama, comedy, entertainment and music), each consisting
of specialists who seek, develop and secure the best content from
the creative community for BBC Worldwide to manage and distribute.
As part of this, we also extended our investment and acquisition
responsibilities across all BBC Worldwide businesses, including our
branded channels, DTO and home video.
As always outstanding content sits at the heart of our growth. A
summary of activity by genre follows here:
International demand for factual programming is healthy and the
UK is producing some of the best factual content in the world.
Landmark factual series such as Frozen Planet are in increasing
demand and co-production financing is key to delivering this
ambition. Our deal to bring Chinese state broadcaster CCTV on board
for BBC Science's Wonders of Life and Generation Earth is a prime
example of this.
In drama there has been a renaissance in the period sub-genre,
and crime shows remain unrelentingly popular. Two titles
demonstrate how we are increasingly bringing partners together.
Edwardian drama Parade's End, written by Sir Tom Stoppard and
produced by Mammoth Screen, is the first project to be co-produced
and distributed under the new co-venture between BBC Worldwide and
Lookout Point with BBC One, HBO and ARTE. Our first scripted
co-production with France Télévisions, Death in Paradise, produced
by Red Planet, was successful for the BBC and has been commissioned
for a second series.
In the growing music television genre, the BBC's coverage of
Coldplay's headline performance at the Glastonbury festival was
broadcast live across the USA, Brazil and Germany - the first
performances from Glastonbury to be broadcast live outside the UK.
Exporting British culture to viewers across the globe is a strategy
we will look to continue with events such as Radio 1's Hackney
Weekend. We have also completed an output deal with Sony Music in
the UK, to complement an existing deal with Universal Music. Comedy
remains a key genre for us and has seen us invest in shows such as
Twenty Twelve for BBC Two, Big Talk's award-winning Rev for BBC Two
and Ruth Jones' latest show Stella, helping to bring a new
dimension to the comedy genre.
Eurodata research shows that 83% of programmes are produced in
the same country they are broadcast in, and so localising formats
continues to be a successful way to enter new markets. Our flagship
show Dancing with the Stars has now been licensed to 40 countries.
The past year has seen local versions of Top Gear launched in South
Korea and China, building on the continued success of the format in
the USA for history Channel. Love Productions' format The Great
Bake Off delivered excellent ratings for the BBC and was an
emerging international hit this year with four local versions
greenlit. BBC Productions' The Week the Women Went became the first
format we have licensed to Morocco.
This year we have also increased commissioning activity for our
channels and more details on these programmes can be found here.
Our management of talent rights brings access to new content.
Building a relationship with Nigella Lawson has resulted in a
distribution deal that also sees BBC Bristol produce her new series
and our strong partnership with Steve Backshall means an exciting
future for Deadly 60 as it becomes an important brand for BBC
In addition to our relationship with the BBC, our ability to
acquire content rights comes from the success of our indie
relationships. We partner with more than 200 UK indies on a range
of output and distribution deals, and have backed two start-up
indies this year, Burning Bright Productions Limited and Slim Film
& TV Limited, each headed up by proven British producers. This
year we took delivery of almost 150 hours of original programming
from indies in which we hold an interest.