BBC Worldwide Eyes Record Spending on U.K. Content

Tim Davie - H 2012
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The commercial arm of the British public broadcaster wants to spend the bulk of a targeted $312 million-plus in the current fiscal year with independent producers.

LONDON – BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the British public broadcaster, is eyeing to boost its annual U.K. content spending to record levels that will see it break through the £200 million ($312 million) mark for the current fiscal year.

That would mark the first time the company crosses that budget mark, Broadcast magazine reported. BBC Worldwide, led by CEO Tim Davie, plans to spend the bulk of it with independent producers, it said.

The firm represents content from the BBC and many indies for international sales.

In fiscal year 2012-2013, which ended in March, BBC Worldwide spent $275 million (£176 million) on acquiring international rights to U.K. shows from indie producers and the BBC. The planned increase this year would amount to a boost of about 14 percent.

BBC Worldwide chief content officer Helen Jackson told Broadcast that the additional spending would mainly flow into drama, but also natural history and factual entertainment content.

"We’re putting more money into program development and production -- that’s BBC production and independent production, as well as our self-generated content through our own production network," it quoted her as saying.

She added: "My primary focus now is working with producers, writers and talent at an early stage of development to devise shows and develop ideas that have the potential to become valuable anchor shows and brands. I’m prepared to place bigger bets to do this."

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