BBC Commercial Operations: Fifth Report of Session 2008-09; Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence
This report investigates: the governance of the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide; the activities of BBC Worldwide, including programme sales, production, magazines and websites; BBC Worldwide's acquisition of Lonely Planet; and the possible partnership between BBC Worldwide and Channel 4. There are major benefits from the BBC undertaking commercial activities: the profits generated by the exploitation of the BBC's intellectual property can be reinvested in the BBC's public services, to the benefit of licence fee payers. But the manner in which some of the BBC's commercial revenue is generated, and the governance arrangements within which the BBC Worldwide operates, causes increasing concern. Worldwide has proved successful in recent years in exploiting new commercial opportunities, made possible by a loosening of the rules that govern the limits to its operations. However, there a balance to be drawn between Worldwide generating a return for the BBC, and limiting Worldwide's operations in order to ensure it upholds the BBC's reputation and does not damage its commercial competitors. Worldwide's minority stakes in overseas production companies, its controversial acquisition of Lonely Planet, and its growing portfolio of magazines, suggest that the balance has been tipped too far in favour of Worldwide's unrestricted expansion, jeopardising the reputation of the BBC and having an adverse impact on its commercial competitors. It is in the interests of the UK's creative economy as a whole that BBC Worldwide's activities are reined back. The BBC Trust should reinstate the rule that all BBC commercial activity must have a clear link with core BBC programming.
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advertising areas assessment assets audiences BBC America BBC brand BBC content BBC Executive Board BBC Magazines BBC programmes BBC Trust BBC Worldwide BBC's commercial activities BBC's commercial services BBC's Fair Trading BBC's public purposes BBC's public service BBCW BBCW's benefit Carter of Barnes Chairman channels Charter commercial efficiency commercial operations commercial subsidiaries Committee competition creative distort the market distributor editorial ensure exploitation Fair Trading Guidelines FremantleMedia going governance Guardian Media Group Helen Southworth in-house intellectual property investment issues launch licence fee funded licence fee payers Lonely Planet Lonely Planet magazine Lord Carter market impact maximise newspapers Ofcom organisation overseas Paul Farrelly Planet magazine potential production companies profits proposals public service broadcasting publishing regional remit Report revenues risk sector Sir Michael Lyons strategy Strictly Come Dancing television websites Worldwide's Zarin Patel