BBC’s Annual Plan Promises to Deliver “Greater Value”


The BBC has set out five strategic priorities in its Annual Plan, revealing creative highlights for the year ahead and explaining how it will continue reforming to deliver “maximum value” to all audiences.

The strategic priorities are based on strengthening impartiality; creating distinctive, high-impact content; transforming its digital offer and capability; accelerating commercial and global growth; and delivering reform of the BBC, getting closer to audiences across the U.K. and managing the impact of the first year of the new license fee settlement.

Richard Sharp, BBC’s chairman, said: “This Annual Plan shows the need for truthful, independent news and uniquely British content, is needed more than ever. Our plan highlights the challenges and opportunities in the media market. We will continue driving changes to our public service and commercial operations to fulfill our duty.”

Tim Davie, BBC’s director-general, added: “The BBC is performing an indispensable role delivering impartial news around the world, with 456 million people using our services globally every week and growing. This Annual Plan shows significant progress has been made to reform the BBC, but we will continue to transform the organization to provide value for all audiences in the digital age.”

The BBC plans to improve the personalization of the iPlayer and Sounds and the rollout of a new BBC News app.

Its centenary year will be filled with creative highlights, including Conversations with Friends, the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s debut novel; Blue Lights, a drama from the writers of the Salisbury Poisonings; The English from Hugo Blick; and the return of Happy Valley, Ghosts and Alma’s Not Normal. New factual series include Frozen Planet II, Inside the Autistic Mind and Five Days on Mars with Brian Cox.

On BBC Three, younger audiences will see “more stories that reflect their communities,” the Annual Plan promises, such as extreme tractor racing competitions on The Fast and Farmer-ish, a celebration of entrepreneurialism on Angels of the North and The Drop and a look at the lives of young bricklayers in England in Brickies.

In children’s, the BBC will launch a new series called Phoenix Rise, set in a fictional West Midlands secondary school filmed in the region, alongside other key titles such as Jamie Johnson (Wales), The Dumping Ground (NE England) and JoJo and Gran Gran (SW England).

Sporting highlights will include the UEFA women’s European Football Championship, Commonwealth Games and Rugby League World Cup, alongside live coverage of the FIFA men’s Football World Cup from Qatar.

In news, the BBC will  “continue to find new ways to inform U.K. and international audiences about the ongoing conflict,” the Annual Play says, such as the recently launched podcast Ukrainecast. By September, all planned BBC News teams will be transferred to their new U.K. bases, including Newsbeat and Asian Network news to Birmingham, and News story teams to Salford, Leeds, Glasgow and Cardiff.

The BBC will introduce a new target for 25 percent of its staff to come from low socioeconomic backgrounds by 2027, to ensure its workforce is more representative of the audiences it serves.

As it expects to meet its goal of reaching 500 million people outside the U.K. every week, the BBC will accelerate the digital transformation of the World Service.

BBC Studios, meanwhile, will continue to develop and grow direct-to-consumer digital subscription services, with the new non-executive director Damon Buffini taking on the role of chairing its commercial arm.

The BBC says that it will need to find £285 million in annual savings by 2027-28, as well as respond to inflation in the media market. It will set out a longer-term strategy in May, which will outline “how the BBC can continue to be a successful organization for the country for the rest of the Charter” and how it plans to manage these resource pressures.