BBC will merge BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios into £1.4 billion company

The BBC are merging BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios into a single $1.9 billion (£1.4bn) commercial company in an effort to combat streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.

30th November 2017
/ By Matthew Whitehouse

BBC Planet Earth II BBC

With Netflix and Amazon currently dominating the market via their streaming services, it's unsurprising that the BBC are trying to avoid being left in the dust.

The two studios already work closely on shows like Blue Planet II and the merger is intended to maximise the BBC's revenue from global sales of other properties.

The BBC said in a statement: “The TV industry has been changing fast and major global players are investing vast sums in content – but not primarily in British content reflecting British lives.

“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 Director Tony 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 into the future.

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

The new venture will be lead by Tim Davie with BBC Studios head Mark Linsey given the role of Chief Creative Officer

Davie said: “Creating one company, in line with market norms, is a natural step in this market. The new BBC Studios will be focused on the highest quality British content, underpinning our future financial return to licence fee payers. 

"It will allow us to better serve customers, indie partners and the wider industry, resulting in world-class British productions for audiences in the UK and overseas.

Linsey added: “Bringing BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide together will help secure the BBC’s future and guarantee our unrivalled creativity, risk-taking, quality and range.

“I am so proud of BBC Studios’ programmes – from huge hits like Blue Planet II and Strictly Come Dancing, to the extraordinary Drugsland and Murdered for Being Different on BBC Three, to EastEnders, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Our Girl, Carols from Kings, Antiques Roadshow, Countryfile and Horizon. 

"We cater to every taste and this merger means that will continue for years to come.”

BBC Worldwide made almost £1bn ($1.35bn) for the BBC over the last five years due to sales of programmes like Doctor Who and Top Gear.