It is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees, with over 20,950 staff in total, of whom 16,672 are in public sector broadcasting; including part-time, flexible as well as fixed contract staff, the total number is 35,402.
The BBC is established under a Royal Charter and operates under its Agreement with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Its work is funded principally by an annual television licence fee which is charged to all British households, companies, and organisations using any type of equipment to receive or record live television broadcasts. The fee is set by the British Government, agreed by Parliament, and used to fund the BBC's extensive radio, TV, and online services covering the nations and regions of the UK. From 1 April 2014 it also funds the BBC World Service, launched in 1932, which provides comprehensive TV, radio, and online services in Arabic, and Persian, and broadcasts in 28 languages.
Around a quarter of BBC revenues come from its commercial arm BBC Worldwide Ltd. which sells BBC programmes and services internationally and also distributes the BBC's international 24-hour English language news services BBC World News and BBC.com, provided by BBC Global News Ltd.
The birth of British broadcasting, 1920–22
Britain's first live public broadcast from the Marconi factory in Chelmsford took place in June 1920. It was sponsored by the Daily Mail 's Lord Northcliffe and featured the famous Australian Soprano Dame Nellie Melba. The Melba broadcast caught the people's imagination and marked a turning point in the British public's attitude to radio However this public enthusiasm was not shared in official circles where such broadcasts were held to interfere with important military and civil communications. By the Autumn of 1920, pressure from these quarters and uneasiness among the staff of the licensing authority, the General Post Office (GPO), was sufficient to lead to a ban on further Chelmsford broadcasts.
But by 1922 the GPO had received nearly 100 broadcast licence requests and moved to rescind its ban in the wake of a petition by 63 wireless societies with over 3,000 members. Anxious to avoid the same chaotic expansion experienced in the United States the GPO proposed that it would issue a single broadcasting licence to a company jointly owned by a consortium of leading wireless receiver manufactures, to be known as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd. John Reith, a Scottish Calvinist, was appointed its General Manager in December 1922 a few weeks after the Company made its first official broadcast. The Company was to be financed by a royalty on the sale of BBC wireless receiving sets from approved manufacturers and by a licence fee.
From private company to public service corporation and business, 1923–26
The financial arrangements soon proved inadequate. Set sales were disappointing as amateurs made their own receivers and listeners bought rival unlicensed sets. By mid 1923 discussions between the GPO and the BBC had become deadlocked and the Postmaster-General commissioned a review of broadcasting by the Sykes Committee. The Committee recommended a short term reorganisation of licence fees with improved enforcement in order to address the BBC's immediate financial distress, and an increased share of the licence revenue split between it and the GPO. This was to be followed by a simple 10 shillings licence fee with no royalty once the wireless manufactures protection expired. The BBC's broadcasting monopoly was made explicit for the duration of its current broadcast licence, as was the prohibition on advertising. The BBC was also banned from presenting news bulletins before 19:00, and required to source all news from external wire services.
Mid 1925 found the future of broadcasting under further consideration this time by the Crawford committee. By now the BBC under Reith's leadership had forged a consensus favouring a continuation of the unified (monopoly) broadcasting service, but more money was still required to finance rapid expansion. Wireless manufacturers were anxious to exit the loss making consortium with Reith keen that the BBC be seen as a public service rather than a commercial enterprise. The recommendations of the Crawford Committee were published in March the following year and were still under consideration by the GPO when the 1926 General Strike broke out in May. The strike temporarily interrupted newspaper production and with restrictions on news bulletins waived the BBC suddenly became the primary source of news for the duration of the crisis.
The crisis placed the BBC in a delicate position. On one hand Reith was acutely aware that the Government might exercise its right to commandeer the BBC at any time as a mouthpiece of the Government if the BBC were to step out of line, but on the other he was anxious to maintain public trust by appearing to be acting independently. The Government was divided on how to handle the BBC but ended up trusting Reith, whose opposition to the strike mirrored the PM's own. Thus the BBC was granted sufficient leeway to pursue the Government's objectives largely in a manner of its own choosing. The resulting coverage of both Striker and Government viewpoints impressed millions of listeners who were unaware that the PM had broadcast to the nation from Reith's home, using one of Reith's sound bites inserted at the last moment, or that the BBC had banned broadcasts from the Labour Party and delayed a peace appeal by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Supporters of the Strike nicknamed the BBC the BFC for British Falsehood Company. Reith personally announced the end of the strike which he marked by reciting from Blake's "Jerusalem" signifying that England had been saved.
The BBC did well out of the crisis which cemented a national audience for its broadcasting and was followed by the Government's official acceptance of the Crawford Committee recommendations transferring the operations of the Company to a British Broadcasting Corporation established by Royal Charter. Reith was knighted and on 1 January 1927 becoming the first Director General of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
While the BBC tends to characterise its coverage of the General Strike by emphasising the positive impression created by its balanced coverage of the views of Government and Strikers, Jean Seaton, Professor of Media History and the Official BBC Historian has characterised the episode as the invention of "modern propaganda in its British form". Reith argued that trust gained by 'authentic impartial news' could then be used. Impartial news was not necessarily an end in itself.
To represent its purpose and (stated) values, the Corporation adopted the coat of arms, including the motto "Nation shall speak peace unto Nation". The motto is generally attributed to Montague John Rendall, former headmaster of Winchester College and member of the first BBC Board of Governors. The motto is said to be a "felicitous adaptation" of Micah 4: 3 "nation shall not lift up a sword against nation".
1926 to 1939
The success of "wireless" broadcasting provoked animosities between the BBC and well established media such as theatres, concert halls and the recording industry. By 1929 the BBC complained that the agents of many London comedians refused to sign contracts for broadcasting, because they feared it harmed the artist "by making his material stale" and that it "reduces the value of the artist as a visible music-hall performer". On the other hand, the BBC was "keenly interested" in a cooperation with the recording companies who "in recent years ... have not been slow to make records of singers, orchestras, dance bands, etc. who have already proved their power to achieve popularity by wireless." Radio plays were so popular that the BBC had received 6,000 manuscripts by 1929, most of them written for stage and of little value for broadcasting: "Day in and day out, manuscripts come in, and nearly all go out again through the post, with a note saying 'We regret, etc.'"
Experimental television broadcasts were started in 1932 using an electromechanical 30-line system developed by John Logie Baird. Limited regular broadcasts using this system began in 1934, and an expanded service (now named the BBC Television Service) started from Alexandra Palace in 1936, alternating between an improved Baird mechanical 240 line system and the all electronic 405 line Marconi-EMI system. The superiority of the electronic system saw the mechanical system dropped early the following year.
1939 to 2000
Television broadcasting was suspended from 1 September 1939 to 7 June 1946 during the Second World War. There was a widely reported urban myth that, upon resumption of service, announcer Leslie Mitchell started by saying, "As I was saying before we were so rudely interrupted ..." In fact, the first person to appear when transmission resumed was Jasmine Bligh and the words said were "Good afternoon, everybody. How are you? Do you remember me, Jasmine Bligh ... ?"
Competition to the BBC was introduced in 1955 with the commercial and independently operated television network of ITV. However, the BBC monopoly on radio services would persist until the 8th October 1973 when under the control of the newly renamed Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) the U.K.'s first Independent local radio station, LBC came on-air in the London area. As a result of the Pilkington Committee report of 1962, in which the BBC was praised for the quality and range of its output, and ITV was very heavily criticised for not providing enough quality programming, the decision was taken to award the BBC a second television channel, BBC2, in 1964, renaming the existing service BBC1. BBC2 used the higher resolution 625 line standard which had been standardised across Europe. BBC2 was broadcast in colour from 1 July 1967, and was joined by BBC1 and ITV on 15 November 1969. The 405 line VHF transmissions of BBC1 (and ITV) were continued for compatibility with older television receivers until 1985.
Starting in 1964, a series of pirate radio stations (starting with Radio Caroline) came on the air and forced the British government finally to regulate radio services to permit nationally based advertising-financed services. In response, the BBC reorganised and renamed their radio channels. On the 30th September 1967 the Light Programme was split into Radio 1 offering continuous "Popular" music and Radio 2 more "Easy Listening". The "Third" programme became Radio 3 offering classical music and cultural programming. The Home Service became Radio 4 offering news, and non-musical content such as quiz shows, readings, dramas and plays. As well as the four national channels, a series of local BBC radio stations were established in 1967, including Radio London.
In 1969, the BBC Enterprises department was formed to exploit BBC brands and programmes for commercial spin-off products. In 1979 it became a wholly owned limited company, BBC Enterprises Ltd.
In 1974, the BBC's teletext service, Ceefax, was introduced, created initially to provide subtitling, but developed into a news and information service. In 1978, BBC staff went on strike just before the Christmas of that year, thus blocking out the transmission of both channels and amalgamating all four radio stations into one.
Since the deregulation of the UK television and radio market in the 1980s, the BBC has faced increased competition from the commercial sector (and from the advertiser-funded public service broadcaster Channel 4), especially on satellite television, cable television, and digital television services.
In the late 1980s, the BBC began a process of divestment by spinning off and selling parts of its organisation. In 1988 it sold off the Hulton Press Library, a photographic archive which had been acquired from the Picture Post magazine by the BBC in 1957. The archive was sold to and is now owned by Getty Images. During the 1990s, this process continued with the separation of certain operational arms of the corporation into autonomous but wholly owned subsidiaries of the BBC, with the aim of generating additional revenue for programme-making. BBC Enterprises was reorganised and relaunched in 1995 as BBC Worldwide Ltd. In 1998, BBC studios, outside broadcasts, post production, design, costumes and wigs were spun off into BBC Resources Ltd.
The BBC Research Department has played a major part in the development of broadcasting and recording techniques. In the early days, it carried out essential research into acoustics and programme level and noise measurement. The BBC was also responsible for the development of the NICAM stereo standard.
In recent decades, a number of additional channels and radio stations have been launched: Radio 5 was launched in 1990 as a sports and educational station, but was replaced in 1994 with Radio 5 Live, following the success of the Radio 4 service to cover the 1991 Gulf War. The new station would be a news and sport station. In 1997, BBC News 24, a rolling news channel, launched on digital television services and the following year, BBC Choice launched as the third general entertainment channel from the BBC. The BBC also purchased The Parliamentary Channel, which was renamed BBC Parliament. In 1999, BBC Knowledge launched as a multi media channel, with services available on the newly launched BBC Text digital teletext service, and on BBC Online. The channel had an educational aim, which was modified later on in its life to offer documentaries.
2000 to 2011
In 2002, several television and radio channels were reorganised. BBC Knowledge was replaced by BBC Four and became the BBC's arts and documentaries channel. CBBC, which had been a programming strand as Children's BBC since 1985, was split into CBBC and CBeebies, for younger children, with both new services getting a digital channel: the CBBC Channel and CBeebies Channel. In addition to the television channels, new digital radio stations were created: 1Xtra, 6 Music and BBC7. BBC 1Xtra was a sister station to Radio 1 and specialised in modern black music, BBC 6 Music specialised in alternative music genres and BBC7 specialised in archive, speech and children's programming.
The following few years resulted in repositioning of some of the channels to conform to a larger brand: in 2003, BBC Choice was replaced by BBC Three, with programming for younger generations and shocking real life documentaries, BBC News 24 became the BBC News Channel in 2008, and BBC Radio 7 became BBC Radio 4 Extra in 2011, with new programmes to supplement those broadcast on Radio 4. In 2008, another channel was launched, BBC Alba, a Scottish Gaelic service.
During this decade, the corporation began to sell off a number of its operational divisions to private owners; BBC Broadcast was spun off as a separate company in 2002, and in 2005 it was sold off to Australian-based Macquarie Capital Alliance Group and Macquarie Bank Limited and rebranded Red Bee Media. The BBC's IT, telephony and broadcast technology were brought together as BBC Technology Ltd in 2001, and the division was later sold to the German engineering and electronics company Siemens IT Solutions and Services (SIS). SIS was subsequently acquired from Siemens by the French company Atos. Further divestments in this decade included BBC Books (sold to Random House in 2006); BBC Outside Broadcasts Ltd (sold in 2008 to Satellite Information Services); Costumes and Wigs (sold in 2008 to Angels The Costumiers); and BBC Magazines (sold to Immediate Media Company in 2011). After the sales of OBs and costumes, the remainder of BBC Resources was reorganised as BBC Studios and Post Production, which continues today as a wholly owned subsidiary of the BBC.
The 2004 Hutton Inquiry and the subsequent Report raised questions about the BBC's journalistic standards and its impartiality. This led to resignations of senior management members at the time including the then Director General, Greg Dyke. In January 2007, the BBC released minutes of the Board meeting which led to Greg Dyke's resignation.
Unlike the other departments of the BBC, the BBC World Service was funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, more commonly known as the Foreign Office or the FCO, is the British government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom abroad.
In the past few years, the BBC has experimented in high-definition television. In 2006, BBC HD launched as an experimental service, and became official in December 2007. The channel broadcasts HD simulcasts of programmes on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three and BBC Four as well as repeats of some older programmes in HD. In 2010, a HD simulcast of BBC One launched: BBC One HD. The new channel uses HD versions of BBC One's schedule and uses upscaled versions of programmes not currently produced in HD.
On 18 October 2007, BBC Director General Mark Thompson announced a controversial plan to make major cuts and reduce the size of the BBC as an organisation. The plans included a reduction in posts of 2,500; including 1,800 redundancies, consolidating news operations, reducing programming output by 10% and selling off the flagship Television Centre building in London. These plans have been fiercely opposed by unions, who have threatened a series of strikes, however the BBC have stated that the cuts are essential to move the organisation forward and concentrate on increasing the quality of programming.
On 20 October 2010, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced that the television licence fee would be frozen at its current level until the end of the current charter in 2016. The same announcement revealed that the BBC would take on the full cost of running the BBC World Service and the BBC Monitoring service from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and partially finance the Welsh broadcaster S4C.
2011 to present
Further cuts were announced on 6 October 2011, so the BBC could reach a total reduction in their budget of 20%, following the licence fee freeze in October 2010, details include cutting staff by 2000 and sending a further 1000 to the MediaCityUK development, with BBC Three moving in 2016, the sharing of more programmes between stations and channels, sharing of radio news bulletins, more repeats in schedules, including the whole of BBC Two daytime and for some original programming to be reduced. BBC HD was closed on 26 March 2013 and replaced with an HD simulcast of BBC Two, however flagship programmes, other channels and full funding for CBBC and CBeebies would be retained. Numerous BBC facilities have been sold off, including New Broadcasting House on Oxford Road in Manchester. Many major departments have been relocated to Broadcasting House and MediaCityUK, particularly since the closure of BBC Television Centre in March 2013. The continued cuts have inspired campaigns, petitions and protests amongst the viewers and listeners of the BBC who are fiercely loyal to the sections of the BBC that they use. Websites like SaveBBC3 and SaveOurBBC have built a following of hundreds of thousands of individuals concerned about the changes.
Governance and Corporate Structure
The BBC is a statutory corporation, independent from direct government intervention, with its activities being overseen by the BBC Trust (formerly the Board of Governors). General management of the organisation is in the hands of a Director-General, who is appointed by the Trust; he is the BBC's Editor-in-Chief and chairs the Executive Board.
The BBC operates under a Royal Charter. The current Charter came into effect on 1 January 2007 and runs until 31 December 2016. Each successive Royal Charter is reviewed before a new one is granted, i.e. every 10 years.
The 2007 Charter specifies that the mission of the Corporation is to "inform, educate and entertain". It states that the Corporation exists to serve the public interest and to promote its public purposes: sustaining citizenship and civil society, promoting education and learning, stimulating creativity and cultural excellence, representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities, bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK, helping to deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services, and taking a leading role in the switchover to digital television.
The 2007 Charter made the largest change in the governance of the Corporation since its inception. It abolished the sometimes controversial governing body, the Board of Governors, replacing it with the sometimes controversial BBC Trust and a formalised Executive Board.
Under the Royal Charter, the BBC must obtain a licence from the Home Secretary. This licence is accompanied by an agreement which sets the terms and conditions under which BBC is allowed to broadcast. It was under this Licence and Agreement (and the Broadcasting Act 1981) that the Sinn Féin broadcast ban from 1988 to 1994 was implemented.
The BBC Trust was formed on 1 January 2007, replacing the Board of Governors as the governing body of the Corporation. The Trust sets the strategy for the corporation, assesses the performance of the BBC Executive Board in delivering the BBC's services, and appoints the Director-General.
BBC Trustees are appointed by the British monarch on advice of government ministers. There are currently eleven trustees, headed by the vice-chairman Sir Roger Carr. There are trustees for the four constituents of the United Kingdom are; England (Mark Florman), Scotland (Bill Matthews), Wales (Elan Closs Stephens) and Northern Ireland (). The remaining trustees are Sonita Alleyne, Richard Ayre, Mark Damazer, , and Lord Williams.Rona Fairhead was appointed as Chairman of the Trust on 31 August 2014.
|John Reith 1927–1938
Frederick Ogilvie 1938–1942
|List of BBC Directors General|
The Executive Board meets once per month and is responsible for operational management and delivery of services within a framework set by the BBC Trust, and is headed by the Director-General, currently Tony Hall. The Executive Board consists of both Executive and Non-Executive directors, with non-executive directors being sourced from other companies and corporations and being appointed by the BBC Trust. The executive board is made up of the Director General as well as the head of each of the main BBC divisions. These at present are the Director of Radio, Helen Boaden; Director of BBC Television, Danny Cohen; Director of News and Current Affairs, James Harding; Director of Strategy and Digital, James Purnell; Director of Human Resources, Lucy Adams; and the Managing Director of BBC Operations and Finance, Anne Bulford.
The Board shares some of its responsibilities to four sub-committees including: Audit, Fair Trading, Nominations and Remuneration.
It is also supported by a number of management groups within the BBC, including the BBC Management Board, the Finance and Business committee, and boards at the Group level, such as Radio and Television. The boards of BBC Worldwide support and BBC Commercial Holdings along with the Executive Board on commercial matters.
In addition to these members there are also four non-executive directors. These are currently Sir Howard Stringer, former Chairman of Sony Corporation; Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust; Brian McBride, the former Managing Director of Amazon.co.uk and Simon Burke, the chairman of Hobbycraft.
The management board is responsible for managing pan-BBC issues delegated to it from the executive board and ensures that the corporation meets its strategic objectives, the board meets three times per month. Current members include: Director General; Tony Hall, Director, Radio; Helen Boaden, Director, Television; Danny Cohen, Director, News and Current Affairs; James Harding, Director, Strategy & Digital; James Purnell, Director, BBC Scotland; Ken MacQuarrie, Director, BBC Cymru Wales; Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director, Northern Ireland; Peter Johnston, Director, Future Media; Ralph Rivera, Director, North; Peter Salmon, Managing Director, Operations and Finance; Anne Bulford, OBE, Director, HR; Lucy Adams, Editorial Policy and Standards; David Jordan, Director, Marketing; Philip Almond, Creative Director; Alan Yentob, CEO BBC Worldwide & Director, Global; Tim Davie.
The Corporation is headed by Executive Board, which has overall control of the management and running on the BBC. Below this is the BBC Management board, which deals with inter departmental issues and any other tasks which the Executive board has delegated to it. Below the BBC Management board are the following six major divisions covering all the BBC's output:
- The Television division is in charge of the corporation's television channels including the commissioning and production of programming and of operations such as the BBC Natural History Unit and the BBC Archives.
- The Radio division is in charge of BBC Radio and music content across the BBC, including the Music area of BBC Online, music programmes on BBC Television, events such as the BBC Proms and the numerous orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic.
- The News Group operate the entire BBC News operation, including the national, regional and international output on television, radio and online. They are in charge of the corporation's divisions in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, the English Regions as well as the output of the BBC Global News division. It is also in charge of the corporation's Current Affairs programming and have some responsibility for sports output.
- The Future Media division is in charge of all digital output, such as BBC Online, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button service and developing new technologies through BBC Research & Development.
- The BBC North Group is the operational division in charge of the divisions operating from the BBC's base at MediaCityUK. It contains departments such as BBC Sport, CBBC and CBeebies, BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Learning. It also oversees the production of programmes including BBC Breakfast and those programmes made by the BBC Salford network production unit for television and radio. Many of this group's operations overlap with that of other groups, resulting in this group overseeing the day-to-day operations.
- The Finance and Business division manage the corporations expenses, long term business plans and licence fee collection. They also assign budgets to the different departments.
All aspects of the BBC fall into one or more of the above departments, with the following exceptions:
- The BBC Trust is separate from departments as it is part of their operation to monitor the operations and departments of the corporation.
- BBC Worldwide Ltd. operates international channels and sells programmes and merchandise in the UK and abroad to gain additional income that is returned to BBC programmes. It is kept separate from the corporation due to its commercial nature.
- The BBC World News department is in charge of the production and distribution of its commercial global television channel. It works closely with the BBC News group, but is not governed by it, and shares the corporation's facilities and staff. It also works with BBC Worldwide, the channel's distributor.
- BBC Studios and Post Production is also separate and officially owns and operates some of the BBC's studio facilities, such as the BBC Elstree Centre, leasing them out to productions from within and outside of the corporation.
The BBC has the second largest budget of any UK-based broadcaster with an operating expenditure of £4.722 billion in 2013/14 compared to £6.471 billion for British Sky Broadcasting in 2013/14 and £1.843 billion for ITV in calendar year 2013.
The principal means of funding the BBC is through the television licence, costing £145.50 per year per household since April 2010. Such a licence is required to receive broadcast television across the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, however no licence is required to own a television used for other means, or for sound only radio sets (though a separate licence for these was also required for non-TV households until 1971). The cost of a television licence is set by the government and enforced by the criminal law. A discount is available for households with only black-and-white television sets. A 50% discount is also offered to people who are registered blind or severely visually impaired, and the licence is completely free for any household containing anyone aged 75 or over. As a result of the UK Government's recent spending review, an agreement has been reached between the government and the corporation in which the current licence fee will remain frozen at the current level until the Royal Charter is renewed at the beginning of 2017.
The revenue is collected privately and is paid into the central government Consolidated Fund, a process defined in the Communications Act 2003. The BBC pursues its licence fee collection and enforcement under the trading name "TV Licensing". TV Licensing collection is currently carried out by Capita, an outside agency. Funds are then allocated by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Treasury and approved by Parliament via legislation. Additional revenues are paid by the Department for Work and Pensions to compensate for subsidised licences for eligible over-75-year-olds.
Since the licence fee is classified as a tax, it follows that evasion is a criminal offence. Since 1991, collection and enforcement of the licence fee has been the responsibility of the BBC in its role as TV Licensing Authority. Thus, the BBC is a major prosecuting authority in England and Wales and an investigating authority in the UK as a whole. The BBC carries out surveillance (mostly using its subcontractors) on properties (under the auspices of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) and may conduct searches of a property using a search warrant. For example, according to TV Licensing, "more than 204,000 people in the UK were caught watching TV without a licence during the first six months of 2012". Licence fee evasion makes up around one tenth of all cases prosecuted in magistrate courts.
Income from commercial enterprises and from overseas sales of its catalogue of programmes has substantially increased over recent years, with BBC Worldwide contributing some £145 million to the BBC's core public service business.
According to the BBC's 2013/14 Annual Report, its total income was £5 billion (£5,066.0 million), which can be broken down as follows:
- £3,726.1 million in licence fees collected from householders;
- £1,023.2 million from the BBC's Commercial Businesses;
- £244.6 million from government grants, of which £238.5 million is from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the BBC World Service;
- £72.1 million from other income, such as rental collections and royalties from overseas broadcasts of programming.
The licence fee has, however, attracted criticism. It has been argued that in an age of multi stream, multi-channel availability, an obligation to pay a licence fee is no longer appropriate. The BBC's use of private sector company Capita Group to send letters to premises not paying the licence fee has been criticised, especially as there have been cases where such letters have been sent to premises which are up to date with their payments, or do not require a TV licence.
The BBC uses advertising campaigns to inform customers of the requirement to pay the licence fee. Past campaigns have been criticised by former Conservative MPs Boris Johnson and Ann Widdecombe, for having a threatening nature and language used to scare evaders into paying. Audio clips and television broadcasts are used to inform listeners of the BBC's comprehensive database. There are a number of pressure groups campaigning on the issue of the licence fee.
The majority of the BBC's commercial output comes from its commercial arm BBC Worldwide who sell programmes abroad and exploit key brands for merchandise. Of their 2012/13 sales, 27% were centred on the five key 'superbrands' of Doctor Who, Top Gear, Strictly Come Dancing (known as Dancing with the Stars internationally), the BBC's archive of natural history programming (collected under the umbrella of BBC Earth) and the, now sold, travel guide brand Lonely Planet.
The following expenditure figures are from 2012/13 and show the expenditure of each service they are obliged to provide:
|Department||Total cost (£million)|
|Television including BBC Red Button||2,471.5|
|Licence Fee Collection||111.1|
|Orchestras and Performing Groups||29.2|
|Libraries, Learning support and Community events||33.6|
|Other, including training, marketing, finance and policy||925.9|
A significantly large portion of the BBC's income is spent on the corporation's Television and Radio services with each service having a different budget based upon their content.
|Service||2012/13 Total Cost
|BBC One Including Regions||1,463.2||+ 125.6|
|BBC Two||543.1||+ 6|
|BBC Three||121.7||+ 8.8|
|BBC Four||70.2||+ 2.4|
|BBC News||61.5||+ 4|
|BBC Parliament||10.5||+ 1.2|
|BBC Alba||7.8||– 0.2|
|BBC Red Button||41.8||+ 4.6|
|Service||2012/13 Total Cost
|BBC Radio 1||54.2||+ 3.6|
|BBC Radio 1Xtra||11.8||+ 0.7|
|BBC Radio 2||62.1||+ 1.6|
|BBC Radio 3||54.3||+ 1.8|
|BBC Radio 4||122.1||+ 6.2|
|BBC Radio 4 Extra||7.2||– 1|
|BBC Radio 5 Live||76||+ 6.7|
|BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra||5.6||+ 0.3|
|BBC Radio 6 Music||11.5||– 0.2|
|BBC Asian Network||13||0|
|BBC Local Radio||152.5||+ 6|
|BBC Radio Scotland||32.7||+ 0.6|
|BBC Radio nan Gàidheal||6.3||+ 0.3|
|BBC Radio Wales||18.8||+ 1.1|
|BBC Radio Cymru||17.6||+ 1.7|
|BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle||23.8||0|
Headquarters and regional offices
Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London, is the official headquarters of the BBC. It is home to six of the ten BBC national radio networks, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1xtra, BBC Asian Network, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, and BBC Radio 4 Extra. It is also the home of BBC News, which relocated to the building from BBC Television Centre in 2013. On the front of the building are statues of Prospero and Ariel, characters from William Shakespeare's play The Tempest, sculpted by Eric Gill. Renovation of Broadcasting House began in 2002 and was completed in 2013.
Until it closed at the end of March 2013,BBC Television was based at BBC Television Centre, a purpose built television facility and the second built in the country located in White City, London. This facility has been host to a number of famous guests and programmes through the years, and its name and image is familiar with many British citizens. Nearby, the BBC White City complex contains numerous programme offices, housed in Centre House, the Media Centre and Broadcast Centre. It is in this area around Shepherd's Bush that the majority of BBC employees work.
As part of a major reorganisation of BBC property, the entire BBC News operation relocated from the News Centre at BBC Television Centre to the refurbished Broadcasting House to create what is being described as "one of the world's largest live broadcast centres". The BBC News Channel and BBC World News relocated to the premises in early 2013. Broadcasting House is now also home to most of the BBC's national radio stations, and the BBC World Service. The major part of this plan involves the demolition of the two post-war extensions to the building and construction of an extension designed by Sir Richard MacCormac of MJP Architects. This move will concentrate the BBC's London operations, allowing them to sell Television Centre, which is expected to be completed by 2016.
In addition to the scheme above, the BBC is in the process of making and producing more programmes outside London, involving production centres such as Belfast, Cardiff , Glasgow and, most notably, in Greater Manchester as part of the 'BBC North Project' scheme where several major departments, including BBC North West, BBC Manchester, BBC Sport, BBC Children's, CBeebies, Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Breakfast, BBC Learning and the BBC Philharmonic have all moved from their previous locations in either London or New Broadcasting House, Manchester to the new 200-acre (80ha) MediaCityUK production facilities in Salford, that form part of the large BBC North Group division and will therefore become the biggest staffing operation outside London.
As well as the two main sites in London (Broadcasting House and White City), there are seven other important BBC production centres in the UK, mainly specialising in different productions. Broadcasting House Cardiff, has been home to BBC Cymru Wales, which specialises in drama production. Open since October 2011, and containing 7 new studios, Roath Lock is notable as the home of productions such as Doctor Who and Casualty. Broadcasting House Belfast, home to BBC Northern Ireland, specialises in original drama and comedy, and has taken part in many co-productions with independent companies and notably with RTÉ in the Republic of Ireland. BBC Scotland, based in Pacific Quay, Glasgow is a large producer of programmes for the network, including several quiz shows. In England, the larger regions also produce some programming.
Previously, the largest 'hub' of BBC programming from the regions is BBC North West. At present they produce all Religious and Ethical programmes on the BBC, as well as other programmes such as A Question of Sport. However, this is to be merged and expanded under the BBC North project, which involved the region moving from New Broadcasting House, Manchester, to MediaCityUK. BBC Midlands, based at The Mailbox in Birmingham, also produces drama and contains the headquarters for the English regions and the BBC's daytime output. Other production centres include Broadcasting House Bristol, home of BBC West and famously the BBC Natural History Unit and to a lesser extent, Quarry Hill in Leeds, home of BBC Yorkshire. There are also many smaller local and regional studios throughout the UK, operating the BBC regional television services and the BBC Local Radio stations.
The BBC also operates several news gathering centres in various locations around the world, which provide news coverage of that region to the national and international news operations.
Technology (Atos service)
In 2004 the BBC contracted out its former BBC Technology division to the German engineering and electronics company Siemens IT Solutions and Services (SIS), outsourcing its IT, telephony and broadcast technology systems. When Atos Origin acquired the SIS division from Siemens in December 2010 for €850 million (£720m), the BBC support contract also passed to Atos, and in July 2011, the BBC announced to staff that its technology support would become an Atos service. Siemens staff working on the BBC contract were transferred to Atos and BBC technology systems (including the BBC website) are now managed by Atos. In 2011 the BBC's Chief Financial Officer Zarin Patel stated to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee that, following criticism of the BBC's management of major IT projects with Siemens (such as the Digital Media Initiative), the BBC partnership with Atos would be instrumental in achieving cost savings of around £64 million as part of the BBC's "Delivering Quality First" programme. In 2012 the BBC's Chief Technology Officer, , expressed confidence in service improvements to the BBC's technology provision brought about by Atos. He also stated that supplier accountability had been strengthened following some high-profile technology failures which had taken place during the partnership with Siemens.
The BBC operates several television channels in the UK of which BBC One and BBC Two are the flagship television channels. In addition to these two flagship channels, the BBC operates several digital only stations: BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, BBC Parliament, and two children's channels, CBBC and CBeebies. Digital television is now in widespread use in the UK, with analogue transmission completely phased out by December 2012.
BBC One is a regionalised TV service which provides opt-outs throughout the day for local news and other local programming. These variations are more pronounced in the BBC 'Nations', i.e. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, where the presentation is mostly carried out locally on BBC One and Two, and where programme schedules can vary largely from that of the network. BBC Two variations exist in the Nations, however English regions today rarely have the option to 'opt out' as regional programming now only exists on BBC One, and regional opt outs are not possible in the regions that have already undertaken the switch to digital television. BBC Two was also the first channel to be transmitted on 625 lines in 1964, then carry a small-scale regular colour service from 1967. BBC One would follow in November 1969.
A new Scottish Gaelic television channel, BBC Alba, was launched in September 2008. It is also the first multi-genre channel to come entirely from Scotland with almost all of its programmes made in Scotland. The service was initially only available via satellite but since June 2011 has been available to viewers in Scotland on Freeview and cable television.
The BBC currently operates HD simulcasts of all its nationwide channels with the exception of BBC Parliament. Until 26 March 2013, a separate channel called BBC HD was available, in place of BBC Two HD. It launched on 9 June 2006 following a 12-month trial of the broadcasts. It became a proper channel in 2007, and screened HD programmes as simulcasts of the main network, or as repeats. The corporation has been producing programmes in the format for many years, and stated that it hoped to produce 100% of new programmes in HDTV by 2010. On 3 November 2010, a high-definition simulcast of BBC One was launched, entitled BBC One HD, and BBC Two HD launched on 26 March 2013, replacing BBC HD.
In the Republic of Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, the BBC channels are available in a number of ways. In these countries digital and cable operators carry a range of BBC channels these include BBC One, BBC Two and BBC World News, although viewers in the Republic of Ireland may receive BBC services via 'overspill' from transmitters in Northern Ireland or Wales, or via 'deflectors' – transmitters in the Republic which rebroadcast broadcasts from the UK, received off-air, or from digital satellite.
Since 1975, the BBC has also provided its TV programmes to the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS), allowing members of UK military serving abroad to watch them on four dedicated TV channels. From 27 March 2013, BFBS will carry versions of BBC One and BBC Two, which will include children's programming from CBBC, as well as carrying programming from BBC Three on a new channel called BFBS Extra.
Since 2008, all the BBC channels are available to watch online through the BBC iPlayer service. This online streaming ability came about following experiments with live streaming, involving streaming certain channels in the UK.
In February 2014, Director-General Tony Hall announced that the corporation needed to save £100 million. In March 2014, the BBC confirmed plans for BBC Three to become an internet-only channel.