Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Family silver

Is there something stirring in BBC thinking about its 50/50 partnership in UKTV, on the agenda at the BBC Executive in September ?  With US partner Scripps Networks Interactive, the 250-strong Hammersmith Grove operation packages old BBC stuff along with ITV and C4 output, and a sprinkling of new material, to deliver 10 UK channels.

Dave, Drama, Really and Yesterday are available free to air, but with ads; Alibi, Eden, Gold, Good Food, Home and Watch usually come as part of satellite, cable or broadband packages. In the last reported year, operating profits were £72.2m, presumably split half and half between BBC and Scripps. But UKTV also re-invested £123m in new content, like a UK version of Storage Hunters, Crackanory and an Alan Davies chat show.

Is £36.1m a year a good return for all that BBC back catalogue ? Or is someone at Auntie pushing a total sale, previously resisted, to ease some of the financial pain that's both current and coming ?

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