The BBC has staunchly defended its investment in content, claiming that, amid fierce competition from new platforms and services, it has produced 14 original drama series for the price of a single Netflix original.
The UK public broadcaster yesterday issued a report assessing the efficiency of the wide-ranging £1.1 billion (US$1.7 billion) in cost-savings it has implemented between 2007 and now, and detailed a further £400 million that it said it will save annually by 2016/17.
Part of the report, commissioned by director general Tony Hall, was a defence of the BBC’s programme spend in the current media environment. The BBC chose to use Netflix’s first original series, House of Cards, as “a powerful example” that it said was “illustrative of the relative effectiveness of the BBC’s drama investment”.
Under the heading, ‘The new US entrants into the content market are investing huge sums’ (pictured), the report cited the US$100 million cost of House of Cards over two series and 22 hours, and fact it was seen by 6% of UK adults, registering a viewer appreciation rating of 8 out of 10 (citing Ipsos Mori, BARB and GfK data; Netflix never releases viewing numbers).
For the same amount, the BBC said it made 14 licence fee funded British drama series, running to 79 hours, that were viewed by 72% of adults and registered an 8.8 out of 10 approval score.
It noted that this followed dramatic changes to the UK media sector, including the consolidation of independent production, the development of digital services and greater competition from global conglomerates such as Viacom, The Walt Disney Company, Google, Apple and Netflix.
The BBC also sought to put the breadth and quality of its output into context in terms of annual revenues, citing the huge gap between its income and that of Apple, Microsoft, Comcast, Disney, Amazon, Google, Time Warner and 21st Century Fox.