Tony Hall announces BBC's competition revolution

Tony Hall BBC independent production royal charter changesThe BBC's director-general Tony Hall gave a speech on Thursday (10 July) at London's City University outlining his thoughts on future content creation for the BBC, saying he would like to allow for more external productions to be created for the broadcaster in order to make the British film and television industry an even greater success.

Currently the BBC's Royal Charter includes a 50% in-house production guarantee, seeing to it that half of all transmissions are produced in-house. In the speech Lord Hall championed the BBC and its current content but said that in order to see a growth in the quality and quantity of that created by Britain's independent production market the BBC had to move away from this structure.

The plans provide an opportunity for the independent production sector to get a larger slice of the £400m worth of current commissioning opportunities.

"Competition is good for the BBC and I want more of it," Lord Hall said. "I want proper competition in programme supply, overturning the current system that no longer works as it should. We are going to go further than we have ever done before in opening the BBC to more competition. A competition revolution."

He continued to speak in favour of a less regulated system that would ensure both BBC producers and those of the independent sector have "more creative freedom and operate on a level playing field".

In his speech Lord Hall also said: "I want a system that supports British content and that keeps the UK competitive in a global market. But we are not going to sacrifice quality to price. We are going to have both. To use retail terminology, great programmes at great prices."

Currently 25% of BBC TV output is guaranteed to independent producers; 50% is guaranteed to BBC in-house producers; and 25% is left open to both in open competition.

The trade organisation for independent producers, Pact, has been lobbying for a while now for the broadcaster to ditch its current policy in the charter, which is up for renewal in 2016.

John McVay, Pact's CEO said: "Pact has been calling for the BBC to open up to more competition for over 20 years. Tony Hall's commitment to liberalising in-house production should be welcomed both inside the BBC and by its suppliers. We look forward to working with the BBC Executive in the coming months to identify how this can be achieved in order to deliver the best value for money for licence fee payers."