New arrangements are being introduced covering the way the BBC Trust scrutinises the BBC’s commercial activities.
The framework for BBC commercial services (currently BBC Worldwide, BBC Global News Ltd and BBC Studios and Post Production) will be put in place from April. It will cover the requirements, boundaries and expectations for their operation with an emphasis on their relationship with licence fee funded services.
The Trust will assess the performance of the commercial services against this framework every five years, bringing it into line with the way that BBC TV, radio and online services are currently assessed.
BBC Trustee Suzanna Taverne said: “The BBC’s commercial services and activities play an important role in generating returns for reinvestment into BBC content for UK licence fee payers. This framework clarifies the Trust’s expectations and strengthens our oversight of them, to ensure the performance of the services is regularly and publicly assessed. Having listened to concerns from the industry, we will also launch an independent review later this year to provide assurance around separation and transfer pricing.”
In a consultation leading up to the announcement respondents suggested Global News Ltd might contribute to the BBC public purpose ‘bringing the UK to the world, and the world to the UK’. This, said the Trust, was something that could be achieved if it is done with a view to generating profit rather than in order to achieve that promotion.