New system cuts in-house production

U.K. indies have beaten rival inhouse BBC producers to secure more commissions in the first year of a new system designed to foster more competition in the supply of programs at the pubcaster.

The so-called Window of Creative Competition, introduced in April 2007, enabled indies to win 44% of BBC network TV commissions in 2007-08, according to a report published Tuesday by the BBC Trust.

The new method of commissioning, which led to hundreds of job losses at the Beeb, was introduced after the pubcaster repeatedly failed to meet government-imposed quotas stipulating that at least 25% of programs came from indies.

Under the terms of the Window, indies and BBC producers are allowed to compete for an additional 25% of program commissions. During 2007-08, inhouse producers won a quarter of these commissions, while 75% of the entitlement was secured by indies.

Outside the Window, 50% of BBC programs are produced inhouse, with the remaining 25% made up by the original indie quota.

The BBC Trust, which is monitoring, gave the new system the thumbs up. Rotha Johnston, who led the trust’s review, said: “For the BBC to produce a wide range of quality and distinctive programs, the commissioning process needs to work effectively. Our review has shown that in the first year, the WOCC has worked well.”

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