BBC Trust & Executive’s Review & Assessment for 2015/16

bbcSpending on TV content was down by 5.2% from £1.8bn (US$2.37bn) to £1.7bn while digital spending was up 23%, from £124.6m to £153.3m, partly because of BBC3’s move to become an online-only channel.

BBC1 is still the most-watched channel in the UK, with 72% of British viewers watching, while programming including The Night Manager, Doctor Foster and Undercover were highlighted as particular successes.

Meanwhile, commercial arm BBCWW reported headline sales of £1.03bn, up almost 3% on last year, but headline profit was down 3.5% and the return to the BBC was only £222.2m, down 1.9% on last year. BBCWW said the figures were affected by the sale of BBC America in late 2014.

Tim Davie, BBCWW’s CEO, said: “This year’s results are due to strategic focus and exceptional content, creatively commercialised.”

“Despite operating in an increasingly challenging environment, we have held on to our ambition to transform the business, deepening our unrivalled content slate, while increasing our support to the BBC and the wider UK creative industries. All these elements played their part in delivering a good set of results and ensuring we enter the new year from a good place.”

BBCWW said its highlights included Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, which became the top-selling title of the year and was licensed to 216 territories.

The pubcaster also said it had saved more than £600m over the past year and is on course to reach its £700m target by next year.
More than 2,000 staff have been axed over the course of the past decade, with almost half of all senior manager roles cut since 2009 – down from 640 in 2009 to 356 this year.
The savings, part of the BBC’s Delivering Quality First strategy, mean the pubcaster now claims to be on course to achieve its target of saving £700m by next year.

Director general Tony Hall said the pubcaster’s focus would now be on creating an organisation “fit for the digital age.” The pubcaster added that the cost of operating the BBC is 6% of controllable spend, with content and delivery taking 94%.
Earlier this year the pubcaster revealed it had slashed pay for its top talent.

The past 12 months have been tumultuous for the pubcaster, with an exodus of senior staff including director of TV Danny Cohen, former BBC Studios boss Peter Salmon, BBC2 and BBC4 controller Kim Shillinglaw and recently appointed drama boss Polly Hill.

The pubcaster has also secured an 11-year charter, an increase of a year on the current arrangement, following UK culture secretary John Whittingdale’s government white paper on the organisation.

Other reforms include doing away with the BBC Trust and replacing it with a governing board, introducing more financial scrutiny and encouraging the BBC to introduce new subscription services at home and internationally to drive revenues.

The reforms also gave the go-ahead for BBC Studios, in return for doing away with all in-house production guarantees. Hall has also restructured the pubcaster’s senior management and rejigged its executive team.

Read the full report: BBC Trust and Executive’s review and assessment for 2015/16 (PDF 5.6MB)

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