Now the lords want to privatise BBC Worldwide

Radio Times: up for grabs?

Radio Times: up for grabs?

BBC Worldwide should be partly privatised the House of Lords select committee on communications will say today as part of a push to allow it to become a global brand for distributing British television content.

The report, The British film and television industries – decline or opportunity?, says the £1-billion-a-year company cannot expand using the licence fee and needs access to commercial sources of funding.

The Sunday Times says the corporation is lining up the magazine division – including Radio Times and Gardener’s World – for sale. Worldwide is Britain’s fourth-biggest consumer magazines publisher and sells 85m copies a year of its 50 titles.

It is also reported to be preparing a push into computer games – an area where it has had little presence since the 1980s. Then, under software editor Dave Atherton – who went on to found Dabs.com –  BBCSoft published titles such as White Knight and Dr Who. However, it was never able to fully exploit the Doctor’s adversaries such as the Daleks because of a copyright dispute with Terry Nation who as a freelance producer for the series held the rights.

In November, Worldwide was told by Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust, to cut back on its commercial operations, the profits from which are used to fund programmes.

BBC profile

1 billion a year. All
the evidence suggests that there is further scope to expand but to do this will
require private capital. It cannot be achieved by using the license fee
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