BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios merge in fight against Netflix and Amazon

Robert Hutchins

By Robert Hutchins

November 30th 2017 at 7:29AM
BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios merge in fight against Netflix and Amazon

Operating under the BBC Studios name, the move is the broadcaster’s latest bid to generate more revenue from shows such as Top Gear, Strictly Come Dancing and Doctor Who as it continues to fight competition from the likes of Amazon and Netflix.

The BBC is merging BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide to form a single £1.9bn commercial organisation.

Operating under the BBC Studios name, the move is the broadcaster’s latest bid to generate more revenue from shows such as Top Gear, Strictly Come Dancing and Doctor Who as it continues to fight competition from the likes of Amazon and Netflix.

The union of BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide into a single commercial structure will create a “simplified organisation with a single business plan and combined operating model,” according to the BBC.

The move follows warnings from BBC director general Tony Hal earlier this month of the serious threat due to changes taking place in the industry as a result of the rise of Netflix, Amazon and Apple, which he said threaten a dramatic fall in investment in home-grown television.

Hall warned that the amount spent on British TV could fall by around £500 million a year over the next ten years.

“The TV industry has been changing fast and majot global players are investing vast sums in content – but not primarily in British content reflecting British lives,” read a statement from the BBC.

“Recent research by consultants Mediatique earlier this month forecast that spending on British programming could fall in real terms by £500m over the next decade, posing a real risk to the volume and breadth of British content available, with a potentially damaging impact on distinctiveness, risk-taking and innovation.

“A successful new BBC Studios will be better placed to make the investments others will not.”

BBC Studios makes Blue Planet II, Strictly Come Dancing, Antiques Roadshow, Eastenders and Top Gear.

BBC Worldwide has returned almost $1bn to the BBC in the past five years via sales of programmes and secondary deals with shows such as Doctor Who and Top Gear.

Hall said: “Creating a single BBC Studios will bring the BBC in line with the industry, be simpler and more efficient. It will help ensure that licence fee payers in the UK continue to receive outstanding British programmes which reflect British lives, long in to the future.

“It will also ensure the BBC can continue to play its crucial role in supporting the successful UK creative economy.”

The new BBC Studios will be jointly led by chief executive officer Tim Davie and chief creative officer, Mark Linsey.