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Producers group criticises BBC over Studios plan

Pact has claimed the BBC has failed to provide sufficient detail on its proposed BBC Studios plan.

JohnMcVay_NewThe UK pubcaster wants to create a new commercial programming division that will make content for BBC channels as well as third parties.

Pact, the trade body for the UK indie sector, has issued a formal response to the government review of the BBC, highlighting a failure to “provide sufficient detail” on the studios plans.

“Pact is extremely concerned that the BBC’s proposals on BBC Studios provide no detail about regulation of the new commercial production arm,” the trade body said.

It added that assurances were needed that the new unit will not have an output deal with the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and that there will be independent oversight of the relationship between Worldwide and BBC Studios.

Pact chief executive John McVay (pictured), said: “It is crucial that BBC Studios is treated in exactly the same way as all of its commercial competitors by the BBC, and any difference in terms of preferential commissioning terms or information would constitute a breach of state aid, and could have serious effects on the market.”

Pact argues that BBC Studios would have an inherent advantage over other production entities because of the number of commissions it would get from its parent group, the BBC.

While competition is welcomed by Pact and its members, no single other UK producer is guaranteed over £400 million [US$618 million] worth of business from a single buyer,” Pact said. “The potential for market distorting behaviours to develop, underpinned by the security of the publicly-funded licence fee should concern everyone.”