The BBC is planning a radical reorganization that will shift “its creative and journalistic center” away from London, part of a major initiative designed to better reflect the U.K. following criticism of a perceived metropolitan bias.
Unveiled Thursday, the broadcaster’s “Across the U.K.” strategy will shift 700 million pounds ($977 million) of spend and hundreds of jobs outside the capital over the next six years, touted in a statement as its “biggest transformation in decades.”
“Our mission must be to deliver for the whole of the U.K. and ensure every household gets value from the BBC,” said director general Tim Davie. “These plans will get us closer to audiences, create jobs and investment, and develop and nurture new talent.”
He added: “Over the last year, the BBC – which has been an essential part of the U.K.’s culture, democracy and creativity for almost a century — has helped inform, educate and entertain all four nations, as we have collectively faced some of our toughest moments in recent history.”
And Davie said: “Now, as we look to the future, we must play our part in supporting social and economic recovery, rebuilding the creative sector and telling the stories that need to be heard from all corners of the U.K.”
As part of strategy, the BBC is committing to spending an extra 700 million pounds outside London, with 60 percent of its shows to be made outside the capital, by 2028. Four hundred jobs will also be moved, around half coming from BBC News, with more employees to be recruited at the regional outposts.
Other points in the Across the U.K. plan include:
– Fifty percent of network radio and music spend to be outside London by 2027/2028.
– Significant parts of BBC News to be moved to centers across the U.K. Half of U.K.-focused story teams will be based around the country.
– Salford to be made the main base for digital and technology teams, supported by digital teams in Glasgow, Cardiff and London. BBC Studios bases to be expanded in Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow, with the Belfast headquarters upgraded.
– Renewing creative partnerships with Northern Ireland Screen and Creative Scotland, creating a new partnership with Creative Wales, and focusing on partnerships in the North and Midlands in England
The plan is published as new research from KPMG and shows the BBC has “wide ranging economic impacts on the U.K. economy” and makes “a significant economic contribution across each of the U.K.’s nations and regions.”