New BBC chief Tim Davie has started his tenure at the head of the UK public broadcaster by telling staff his focus is to offer “outstanding and unique value” to its “customers.”
Davie was named director general of the BBC earlier this summer, replacing the outgoing Tony Hall who took much of the UK industry by surprise in January when he revealed he would be exiting the broadcaster.
The former BBC Studios (BBCS) CEO had headed up its commercial division for more than seven years, during which he launched production arm BBCS and oversaw its merger with former commercial division BBCWW.
Davie, a former marketing chief at Pepsi, also further expanded BBCS’s focus away from straight distribution with the roll-out of streamer BritBox into the US and Australia, content deals with Discovery for natural history programming and last year’s deal to take full control of UKTV’s linear channels.
He takes over with the BBC riding high following its coverage during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, but continuing to face pressure over its reach among younger viewers and question marks over the future of the £157.50 ($212) licence fee.
“Overall, my guiding principle is that we are a universal public service – a BBC for all, that serves and represents every part of this country,” he said in a memo today.
“Our focus must be to ensure that we deliver outstanding and unique value to all audiences – those who pay for us and are in effect our customers – in return for their licence fee. To do this we will need to keep reforming the BBC with urgency so that we are trusted, relevant and indispensable in this digital age.
“While we do face challenges, the senior team and I are incredibly proud to be leading this organisation and supporting you. We are an organisation that matters, and your work is admired for its creative brilliance, outstanding journalism and much more across the world. I am here to ensure that continues.”
Davie has previous experience of running the BBC, having been acting director general from November 2012 until April 2014. A replacement for his previous position at the top of BBCS is currently being sought, with an announcement expected later this year. Candidates mooted by industry insiders include former Endemol Shine Group CEO Sophie Turner-Laing and All3Media’s Jane Turton.