A plan to increase the BBC Scotland share of TV programmes broadcast throughout the UK network has been formally approved by the Corporation’s ‘board’ – the BBC Trust.
Long known about – especially following a visit by the BBC director-general, Mark Thompson, to the BBC Scotland’s headquarters in September – the proposal ratified by the BBC Trust will see programmes made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland make up at least 17 per cent of network output.
The deadline for hitting the target is eight years’ time, by 2016, with an interim target of 12 per cent for four years’ time.
What’s more, the definition of what comprises a ‘programme from Scotland’ will be tighter than hitherto. Until now, the BBC was content to describe a programme as ‘Scottish’ so long as it was commissioned through Scotland and executive-produced from Scotland.
However, that definition allowed, for instance, the drama series, Waterloo Road, to be actually made outside of Scotland.
Now, the BBC will operate a definition operated by broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, which require more actual production spend from within the supposed country of origin.
Under the old definition, the BBC could argue it sourced some 15.9 per cent of its 2007/08 network production from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Under the new definition, this would be equivalent to just 7.7 per cent.
In September, Thompson said: “Network deliveries from BBC Scotland not only can but must grow to at least its proportion of the UK population – though I regard that as a floor rather than any kind of ceiling.”
Come 2016, the additional contribution to the network from BBC Scotland is estimated to be worth