BBC wants ‘demonstrably broader’ channel

BBC New Broadcasting HouseUK pubcaster the BBC wants its flagship network, BBC One, to have a “demonstrably broader range of genres in peak time” than its rivals.

The pledge was one of a number the BBC made yesterday in its Annual Plan, whose most notable takeaway was the extra £34 million (US$44 million) handed to BBC Children’s over the next three years.

Though the channel already targets the mass market, the BBC plans for it to include more talent “from every genre”. It wants to be the top broadcaster for 16-34s in the UK.

“BBC One’s role is more important than ever in reaching out to audiences who consume BBC content and services the least,” the BBC said in its report. “It will continue to connect with young and diverse audiences, opening up more space in the schedule for programming that appeals to them and with talent that reflects them.”

Meanwhile, online-only channel BBC Three, will see “more than 90% of long-form commissions” coming from the UK. The plan is for the network to reach 5-10% of 16-34s a week (using a monthly average).

Around 25% of long-form shows will be factual-focused, while around five new comedies will be commissioned in order to break new talent and form a “substantial scripted” slate.

BBC One will also continue to include arts and music content this year, with some of the 45 dedicated hours coming in primetime. There will also continue to be new, original programmes in daytime, which has seen significant cuts to other BBC channels.

Around 75% of BBC One’s output is original UK programming, with that figure rising to 90% in peak. this equates to 4,000 hours of originals overall.

Meanwhile, the BBC is lining up a landmark history season, Civilisations.

This will comprise a nine-part series on BBC Two about masterworks of great beauty throughout the ages presented by classicist Mary Beard, historian and writer David Olusoga and art historian Simon Schama.

There will also be an accompanying Uncivilised season on BBC Four that documents barbarism within those cultures.

The BBC has been wrestling with how to react to the threat of subscription VOD services and industry-wider ratings dips, and has put in place many of its latest plans in response.

“While we respond to these strategic challenges, we must not lose sight of the simple aim of the BBC – to make great programmes and services,” he said, “so 2017/18 will also be a year of high creativity and distinctive output.

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