The combined entity will create a single business plan and an operating model that will better benefit UK licence fee payers.
In a move to better compete against rival broadcasters like ITV and Endemol Shine, the BBC has revealed that it will merge its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and its production arm, BBC Studios, into a single operation.
The new entity, which will remain as BBC Studios, will be led by Tim Davie as chief executive officer and Mark Linsey as chief creative officer, and will aim to bring the broadcaster in line with the rest of the industry by creating a single business plan and combined operating model.
The new business will work to maximise the IP value of BBC programming to benefit UK licence fee payers and will support the UK creative economy by distributing British content as a cultural export and source of global influence. According to Variety, the BBC receives about $5b a year from licence fee payers.
The new, integrated company will also continue to invest in third party production companies and distribute non-BBC content.
In terms of brand licensing, BBC Worldwide is the world’s No. 35 largest licensor, reporting $1.6b in licensed retail sales in 2016, according to License Global’s annual Top 150 Global Licensors report.
Tony Hall, director-general, BBC, commented: “In a fast-changing TV industry, securing the future success of the BBC is vital. Creating a single BBC Studios will bring the BBC in line with the industry, be simpler and more efficient. It will help ensure that licence fee payers in the UK continue to receive outstanding British programmes, which reflect British lives, long into the future.”
The combined business is expected to begin operating in April.