BBC Worldwide to treble amount of original hours commissioned

Louise Duffy | 30-09-2012

BBC Worldwide Channels has laid out its strategy for creating more high quality original programmes for its international portfolio of channels, with the aim of reaching 100 hours in 2014. Tracy Forsyth, VP Commissioning, is seeking fully funded projects, as well as co-productions with BBC in-house teams and independent producers

In 2012, the business is aiming for a threefold increase in the number of original hours ordered for BBC Knowledge, BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle and UKTV (BBC Worldwide’s general entertainment channel in Australia and New Zealand). The roadmap developed by Forsyth will see the business commissioning 100 hours a year by 2014 as the international portfolio diversifies from a largely acquisitions-based content pipeline.

BBC Worldwide Channels will be looking to fully fund and also co-produce projects, working with the independent production community as well as the BBC’s in-house production teams. In addition to ordering news shows from the BBC, Forsyth will commission international versions of some of the Corporation’s flagship shows, tailored for audiences outside the UK. Recent examples include Sport Relief Goes Global, a four hour extravaganza of comedy and entertainment hosted by Richard Hammond and Amanda Byram, and wildlife broadcast Planet Earth Live which was repackaged for viewers outside the UK on BBC Knowledge and BBC HD in May this year.

Jana Bennett, President, Worldwide Networks and Global BBC iPlayer, said: “I believe the addition of original commissions can play a key part to the ongoing success of our international portfolio of BBC-branded channels. We have already premiered a number of originations to a great reception from our audience and I'd like to build on this.”

Forsyth added: “Since joining the business in January this year, I’ve been working with the regional programming teams within BBC Worldwide to clearly identify the gaps in our schedules that can’t be filled from our acquisitions pipeline. The new shows I am ordering will give the viewers of our BBC-branded channels around the world more of the quality British content and talent they love, in their first run, and tailor-made to suit their tastes.”