The BBC, like most major media organizations in 2020, is betting big on digital, with new plans afoot to energize the growth of the U.K. public broadcaster’s primary digital hub and catch-up service, iPlayer.
Chief content officer Charlotte Moore is restructuring the Beeb’s television division accordingly around a new iPlayer-focused strategy, which is coupled with plans to scrap channel controller positions and empower the broadcaster’s genre chiefs.
By doing so, the broadcaster will become less focused on whether a potential show is a BBC One or BBC Two series, and place more emphasis around its content and fit within the wider digital ecosystem. Prior to the restructure, shows needed sign off from both commissioning editors and channel controllers under a clunky “two-tick” system. In the new model, genre directors will be autonomous in ordering shows.
“BBC iPlayer will be at the very heart of our offer, but our channels are what set us apart and will continue to be critical to our success,” said Moore in a statement.
“We must feel indispensable to audiences across the U.K., and these changes will help us to commission the most creative and ambitious programs — reinforcing the BBC’s position as the world’s greatest broadcaster and the most dynamic partner for talent.”
Going forward, iPlayer will bring all programming into one place and offer a “richer” experience for audiences, the BBC has said. However, the service already features content from BBC channels, so it’s still unclear exactly how it will be expanded.
The corporation also promises that channels BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four must remain “at the top of their game” as distinctive channel brands, but the focus now will be on the genres these channels carry within them.
The BBC’s genre controllers will move into director roles — a move that’s set to boost accountability around viewership and the creative pipeline — while existing channel controller roles for BBC One, BBC Two and the BBC Four Editor post will be terminated, although the current interim channel structure will continue until the new model is introduced in April 2021.
A new portfolio director of BBC iPlayer and channels will also be responsible for all the programming and curation activity across BBC iPlayer and the channels. Three new roles have been created working to the portfolio director: a new leadership role for iPlayer, and two portfolio editors working across BBC One and BBC Two and BBC Four.
The BBC says the simpler, more streamlined system will “create greater flexibility to deliver world-beating, distinctive programs for audiences, whether they want to watch them live or on-demand. It will mark the end of the ‘twin tick’ between genres and channels, whilst the remit and responsibility of the genres is expanded.”
Patrick Holland will move into the director of factual position, and Shane Allen (comedy), Rose Garnett (film), Kate Phillips (entertainment) and Piers Wenger (drama) will all become directors of their respective genres.
Dan McGolpin will move into the newly created portfolio role as director of BBC iPlayer and channels. All six directors will report into Moore.
The only major channel role that won’t change is within BBC Three, where Fiona Campbell stays on as controller who will retain a commissioning tick and report into McGolpin under the new structure. The head of portfolio scheduling, channel editor of daytime and early-peak and head of program acquisition will all sit within the new portfolio team.