The BBC commissioned more original content in this year than the year before, and continued to drive its ambitions across the UK, significantly growing TV commissioning spend in the Nations and English regions, now at nearly 60%, and strengthening its audio bases, including a new home for Science in Cardiff and the start of BBC Asian Network’s relocation to Birmingham.
According to the “BBC Commissioning Supply” report, the group has invested in supporting talent and skills – from entry-level training, to growing the next wave of development talent in entertainment and writers in scripted – and driving pan-broadcaster initiatives to ensure the industry is accessible to all. The BBC has also supported production companies through growth funding and mentoring, all of which delivered strong outcomes – with more than £1 million of investment going to small companies through the company’s TV Small Indie Fund and Radio Indie Development Fund.
“Thank you to the production teams, talent and partners who have helped the BBC to deliver such creative excellence over the past year, and make positive change in the industry. We know the pressures and challenges currently faced across the sector, and we will focus our efforts on supporting talent and production across the UK, in continuing to deliver outstanding, distinctive content for our audiences,” said David Pembrey, Chief Operating Officer at BBC Content.
● INVESTMENT IN TV AND RADIO CONTENT
At the same time, the BBC announced that it has invested a total of £128.5 million into TV & Radio content in the first two years of its Creative Diversity Commitment – exceeding the original commitment of £112 million into on-screen and on-air diversity and inclusion.
The BBC also said that it has broadcast a huge array of TV programmes across the year which authentically reflects its audiences, nurturing diverse voices and working with diverse casts and crews, from drama “My Name Is Leon,” comedy “Avoidance” and CBeebies’ “Ranger Hamza's Eco Quest,” to “Lenny’s One Love,” “Una Marson: Caribbean Voices,” BBC Scotland’s “The Wedding” and the Women's Euros.
The three-year commitment (from 2021/22 - 2023/24) to invest a minimum of £112 million - £100 million for TV and £12 million for Radio - has focused efforts to ensure diversity is integrated into the way the BBC commissions programmes across all genres, both on and off screen and air, the company said. In the second year of the commitment, the BBC invested £61 million in supporting a total of 118 TV programmes. This follows a £59 million investment in the first year across 92 programmes. In addition, £8.5 million has been invested in supporting nearly 290 diverse Radio commissions over the past two years.
Chinny Okolidoh, BBC Director of Diversity & Inclusion, said: “I am really proud of the progress we have made through our Creative Diversity commitment which is making a real difference in improving diversity off-screen and ensuring what audiences experience on-screen and on-air is more diverse, inclusive and authentic. There is still more to do across the whole industry and we are working with other broadcasters and streamers to make a positive difference. We have always said the £112 million investment was a starting point. Diversity & inclusion is an absolute priority for the BBC and we are fully committed to reflecting our audiences and improving representation, inclusion and accessibility even further across our content.”