The BBC will be relocating five major departments from London to MediaCityUK at Salford Quays in the north west of England. It is being described as a new technology hub of international significance for media and digital businesses.
A number of BBC divisions will move to MediaCityUK by 2011, including Sport, Learning, parts of Future Media and Technology, and Radio 5 Live, together with local and network broadcasting currently based in Manchester city centre. On completion the centre will house 2,500 staff, with approximately 1,500 jobs moving there from London.
The BBC will be based in three new buildings at MediaCityUK. A separate studio block also forms part of the development, although this is not solely for the use of the BBC. The site is being developed by Peel Holdings as part of a consortium with the regional development agency, a regeneration company and Salford City Council.
The move will be led by Peter Salmon, who becomes the first director of BBC North. Currently chief creative officer, he has previously held senior executive positions in and outside the BBC, including controller of BBC One and director of Sport.
In his first public appearance since his appointment was announced, he will be speaking at the annual Nations and Regions Conference in Salford.
The event is organised by University of Salford’s International Media Centre. The University will be working in partnership with the BBC to open up employment opportunities in the media industry and develop new talent, with new joint courses, such as a BSc in Digital Broadcast Technology, and student placements within the BBC.
Salford University will also join the BBC as an adjacent anchor tenant at MediaCityUK. With state-of-the-art facilities it will focus on employer-led and postgraduate learning and research collaboration.
John Holland has just taken up the role of Media City Director for the University of Salford. He has worked in new media and the interactive sector for many years, including at the BBC where he was responsible for the launch of digital text services.
He said the opportunities created in Salford will have huge significance in the North-West, but the potential extends to the international stage. “With MediaCityUK, the University of Salford can become a focal point where academia engages with enterprise in the digital economy,” he said, pointing out that the opportunities extend across all four faculties of the University, not just to those departments traditionally associated with TV and journalism.
BBC director general Mark Thompson welcomed the involvement of Salford University. “We are committed to forging a new generation of partnerships in the north and across the country’s creative industries,” he said. “The University’s presence alongside key parts of the BBC means MediaCityUK will be one of the places where the future of the media industry will be shaped.”
The 16th annual Television from the Nations and Regionsconference takes place at The Lowry, Salford Quays on 19-20 January 2009.