|Founded||27 February 2015|
101 Wood Lane,
|Tim Davie (Chief executive officer)|
|Divisions||Demon Music Group|
BBC Studios is a British television production and distribution company. It is a commercial arm of the BBC, bringing together the majority of BBC Television's former in-house production departments; Comedy, Drama (both combined as Scripted in the new division), Entertainment, Music & Events, and Factual. BBC News and BBC Radio remain separate internal production divisions in the BBC (although BBC Radio Comedy is part of BBC Studios), and the rest of the former BBC Television division (channels and genre commissioning, as well as BBC Sport, Children's and Family and Learning, Children's Babies, BBC Three and BBC iPlayer) now form the BBC Content division.
The division was formed in 2016 with an intent to make it a for-profit entity in the future, which would allow it to produce programming for other broadcasters to supplement the income received through the licence fee. In exchange, the BBC agreed to place production of much of its non-news programmes to tender, allowing third-party independents to compete with BBC Studios on bids to produce them.
The formal establishment of BBC Studios as a commercial entity occurred in April 2017. In April 2018, BBC Studios subsumed the BBC's existing international distribution arm BBC Worldwide, to make it both a distributor and producer of programmes in line with other major multinational studio conglomerates.
BBC Studios Ltd. as a production company was first registered on 27 February 2015. In September 2015, the BBC's general director Tony Hall announced a proposal to split the BBC's in-house production units for non-news television programming into a separate BBC Studios division, which would eventually, with BBC Trust approval as part of the next revision to the BBC's charter, be spun-out as a for-profit subsidiary of the BBC. This proposal would allow the BBC's units to produce programmes for other broadcasters and digital outlets (which could be done in conjunction with its international distribution arm BBC Worldwide) in addition to the BBC's publicly funded properties. As a for-profit company, BBC Studios would be allowed to pay higher wages to its executives and talent, and no longer face scrutiny over them as it did as a public entity. The proposal was described by The Guardian as being "one of the biggest changes to the BBC in its 93-year history".
The proposal attracted criticism from independent studios, who felt that it would result in the formation of a "super-indie" that would unduly benefit from "guaranteed" programme commissions from the BBC. As part of the split, the BBC planned to tender its programmes, so that independent producers and BBC Studios could bid for the rights to produce its non-news programming, outside of top shows assigned to BBC Studios. The re-organisation and formation of BBC Studios as a division of the BBC was completed in April 2016. In September 2016, the BBC announced that it would tender its non-news programmes over the next 11 years, beginning with programmes such as A Question of Sport, Holby City and Songs of Praise.
In October 2016, the BBC announced that it planned to lay off 300 employees from the division seen as redundant. In December 2016, BBC Studios announced that it had reached an agreement with Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) in regards to the tendering plan, stating that it would tender at least 40% of the "in-house guarantee" within two years of approval of the transition. The BBC Trust subsequently approved the creation of BBC Studios as a commercial subsidiary, with the process expected to be completed in April 2017.
On 29 November 2017, the BBC announced that BBC Worldwide would be merged into BBC Studios effective 1 April 2018. The BBC stated that by handling both the production and sales of its programming within one unit, it would improve efficiency and be in line with the "global norms" of other major international media companies. Technically, BBC Ventures Group Ltd.[note 1] was renamed BBC Studios Group Ltd. on 3 April 2018, and then BBC Studios Ltd. 1 October 2018; also in October, the production company established in 2015 was renamed BBC Studios Productions Ltd., and so did BBC Worldwide Ltd., which was renamed BBC Studios Distribution Ltd.