BBC Vision has been launched as the largest integrated multimedia broadcast and production group of its kind in the world, with an eye on a multi-platform future beyond television.
“Don’t get hung up with the old world versus new world,” said Jana Bennett, the director of the new group. “We are all in new media now.” The group will be responsible for producing all visual content outside news and sport on all platforms.
New media is old news. Multi-media is the new mantra. Don’t think divisions; think groups. Don’t think programmes; think creating content for multiple platforms.
Peter Salmon returns to the corporation as chief creative officer of BBC Vision Studios, after leaving the corporation briefly for a job in the independent sector.
The latest game of musical deckchairs follows a radical restructure announced by the BBC director general Mark Thompson earlier in the year.
BBC Vision is the new name for Television and it brings together a number of former production divisions, now to be organised into 17 production studios, within a single multi-platform department of some 5,000 staff.
BBC Audio and Music is the new name for Radio, while Journalism is the new name for News, and Future Media and Technology is the new name for New Media and Technology.
The remit of the Vision studios will be to make propositions work on many different platforms such as the web, mobile phones and interactive technologies, as well as the traditional platforms such as television and radio.
Commissioning will be separate from production, with 25% of programming coming from independent production companies and a further 25% open to competition between independents and in-house producers.
Within BBC Vision there will be a number of new multi-media executives. Simon Nelson moves from radio and music to become multi-platform controller, overseeing the strategy for multi-platform services and content. The new roles of head of multi-media studio, four multi-platform commissioning executives and three multi-platform channel editors are being externally advertised.
The Future Media and Technology group aims to pull together technology initiatives into a single department with around 1,300 staff and an annual budget of £500 million. The group will be responsible for the prioritisation, information architecture, design and navigation, and the build and support of applications and services.
Ashley Highfield, director of the technology group, called it a “seismic moment,” with plans to increase spending on key projects to allow users to download programmes and archive material and build a new online platform based on web 2.0 principles.