BBC Vision, the biggest integrated multimedia broadcast and production group of its kind in the world, launched today with a mission to create great programmes for audiences in the rapidly changing digital world.
Setting out the new Vision structure to staff today, Director of Vision Jana Bennett told them that, in future, more BBC programmes would need to work on many different platforms such as the web, mobile phones and interactive technologies.
She said: "Our creative purpose is to deliver great programmes and great content to all our audiences. The future will still be a place where audiences value great storytelling, elegant structure, high production values – all the traditional strengths of BBC programme makers.
"But at the same time we need to develop fresh ways of thinking and using technology. There are incredible opportunities in this new world if we can only organise ourselves to seize those opportunities and make them work for our audiences."
BBC Vision – so called because it makes BBC content that people watch - brings together several former BBC divisions: Drama, Entertainment and Children's (DEC); Factual and Learning; Television; and Network Production in the Nations.
This follows a restructure plan announced by BBC Director-General Mark Thompson earlier this year. Other BBC Groups coming together today are Audio and Music, Journalism and Future Media and Technology.
Jana Bennett, said there were two big ideas behind the creation of Vision:
A "one-stop shop" for multi-platform commissioning where creative ideas – whether in-house or independent - could be looked at in the round and assessed for their full creative potential across all appropriate platforms; and
A content powerhouse, Vision Studios, the biggest multi-platform production house of its kind in the world, bringing together about 4,000 programme makers in 17 "studios". Jana Bennett has appointed Peter Salmon as Chief Creative Officer to run Vision Studios.
Jana and Peter unveiled a series of announcements and initiatives to set the ball rolling as Vision opened for business.
- Four senior appointments to complete the top team
- New senior roles to bring multi-media expertise to the heart of BBC Vision
- £10m set aside for multi-platform landmark projects
- Opportunities for thousands of programme makers to gain new multi-media skills and experience of different areas of programming
- In-house Guarantee and Window of Creative Competition
Vision commissioning would be a "meritocracy," Jana said, "to make sure that BBC audiences get the best content, wherever the ideas originate – inside or outside the BBC."
Within BBC Vision, commissioning stays separate from production.
The BBC draws at least 25% of its programming from independent production companies by statutory quota, and another 25% makes up the Window of Creative Competition open to competition between independents and in-house producers.
The remaining 50% goes to the BBC's in-house programme makers under the In-House Guarantee.
Jana said: "The In-House Guarantee will mean that for the first time there will be a guarantee to source 50% of programming from in-house production. That means that half the money Vision invests in content will go to Vision Studios."
Peter Salmon hailed the In-House Guarantee as one of Vision Studios' "reasons to be cheerful".
He said: "There's no other programme-maker in the world whose business has that kind of rock-solid financial underpinning. And that's before we start competing for what's on offer under the WOCC, which I want us to target hard."
In addition to today's appointments, Jana announced new senior multi-media roles, to be funded from re-prioritisation:
- A Head of Multi-Media Studio to oversee the centre of excellence for multi-media production in Vision Studios
- Four Interactive Executives, Commissioning to support Commissioning
- Three Multi-Platform Channel Editors to support channel controllers
- A Future Media and Technology Controller for Vision, who will report to Director of FM&T Ashley Highfield, but be part of the Vision senior team, will be appointed shortly
Part of the existing Think Big fund, set up to expand television projects, will be steered into multi-platform content, starting with £10m in the coming financial year, Jana announced.
Peter Salmon said he wanted to make Vision Studios "a great place to work".
Multi-platform programming would require new skills and offer new opportunities, and so would the scale of Vision Studios.
He said: "We are doing extraordinary things; with a bit more leadership, more support and a clear direction we can do even more."
Peter Salmon unveiled a range of training initiatives to encourage in-house programme makers to build up multi-media skills and experience of other studios.
"Hot Shoes" attachments for people to experience two weeks' working in a completely different area. 250 opportunities in the next year;
A Vision Studios Bursary Scheme to build multi-platform skills;
Encouragement for programme makers to work in different parts of Vision Studios. "Over the next five years I want to see two fifths of our 4,000 plus people working in more than one studio. That's more than 1,500 people."
For further information, contact:
Jackie Burdon, BBC Press Office
Tel: 020 8225 7820
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