Friday, January 1, 2016

First footing

Happy New Year !

The Education and Culture Committee of the Scottish Parliament has made a valiant attempt to pin down the BBC on what it really spends in Scotland, with a list of written questions which it wanted answered by midnight last night. The answers, if they are full, will make their evidence session, on 12 January, with Lord Hall, Anne Bulford and Ken MacQuarrie hot stuff.

Here's the questions.

The Committee would be grateful to receive the following information—

 The amount of income collected from the licence fee in Scotland.

 How the current funding model for the BBC in Scotland breaks down, including BBC Alba, radio, television, online and any other costs.

 The Committee seeks details of how network television production spend in Scotland is calculated at around 9%, including how much of this figure, by volume and value, is accounted for by in-house production and by independent production companies (with separate totals for qualifying and non-qualifying independent producers). The Committee also seeks details of what is spent in Scotland in terms of regional television programming (opt-out and BBC Alba) and how this is broken down between in-house production and independent production companies.

 The impact – including in economic terms and the development of talent – that the BBC’s system of production quotas and the network supply strategy have had in Scotland.

 Please respond to points made in a written submission to the Committee from Matchlight regarding how the BBC’s commissioning practice has operated to subvert the spirit of the current Nation’s quota. Specifically, is it appropriate to set 100% of a project’s budget against the Scottish/Nation’s quota when a lesser share of the overall budget is actually spent in Scotland on that production?

 What proposals does the BBC have to increase commissioning decision-making (the ability to directly commission new projects) and spend in Scotland?

 How does the BBC see the structure whereby it is held to account by the Scottish Parliament working in practice?

 Please provide the average cost per hour for in-house production compared with that for independent production companies, for the Nations and London.

 Your submission to the Committee states that, in Scotland, 95% of adults consume BBC content each week. Can you provide a detailed breakdown by medium and channel in order to allow comparison with UK consumption figures?

 Could BBC Scotland provide its annual accounts and/or a statement of its financial activities in 2014/15?

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