BBC Resources

BBC Resources

Set up as a commercial company in 1998, [cite web|url=|title=BBC to launch new commercial subsidiary following DCMS approval (BBC Press Office)|accessdate=2007-09-08 In its first full year the company made an operating profit of £1.3 million [] ] BBC Resources Ltd provides TV Studio facilities based in London, UK along with network Post Production facilities in London, Bristol and Birmingham. Until March 2008 it also owned Outside Broadcast facilities based in Langley (close to the M4/M25 junction) and Salford. [cite web|url=|title=BBC OB's move to mediacity:uk|accessdate=2008-02-04]

As one of the largest production facilities in the UK, it employed around 1,100 staff (approx. 960 plus 165 in admin.) and had an annual turnover of around £125 million - although it does not own any studios [cite news|url=,,1987589,00.html|title=Here's one we made much, much earlier - and now it's time to move|publisher=The Guardian|first=Matt|last=Wells|date=2007-01-11|accessdate=2008-01-26] - its assets being staff and equipment.

It was the first of the BBC's commercial business-to-business divisions to be set up as a limited company and is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of the BBC.wikinewshas|News related to BBC Resources
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BBC Resources provides production facilities to programme makers, and is now made up of two active businesses under BBC control:::* BBC Studios [cite web|url=|title=BBC Studios website|accessdate=2007-09-08] ::* BBC Post Production [cite web|url=|title=BBC Post Production website|accessdate=2007-09-08]

Two others have been sold:

::* BBC Outside Broadcasts [cite web|url=|title=BBC Outside Broadcasts website|accessdate=2007-09-08] - since 1st April 2008 has been owned and operated by SIS.::* BBC Costume + Wigs [cite web|url=|title=BBC Costume + Wigs website|accessdate=2007-09-08] - Ceased trading in February 2008 while attempting to sell the collection as a going concern [cite web|url=|title=Props section shuts despite resurgence in period drama (Times Online - 15 Feb. 2008)|accessdate=2008-02-16] :::Costumes sold in March 2008 to Angels and Bermans.:::Hairpiece collection sold in March 2008 to The Wig Store. []


The company made an operating profit of £6.1m for 2005-06, down from £7.4m the year before, with the BBC accounting for 83.3% of its turnover, down from 87.4% for 2004-05. [cite web|url=,,1953647,00.html|title=Bectu lobbies BBC over Resources sale (Media Guardian - 22 Nov. 2006)|accessdate=2007-09-08] The figure for 2006-07 was £5.2 million - with BBC business at 80% of turnover. [cite web|url=|title=BBC Resources Ltd (Annual Report for 2006-07)|accessdate=2007-09-08 (PDF)] Leaked figures show a reduced profit of £2.3m for 2007-08cite news|url=|title=BBC Resources revenue and profits down|publisher=The Guardian|first=Tara|last=Conlan|date=2008-06-17|accessdate=2008-06-17] and that £3.4m had been spent on "consultants, legal and internal costs" during the sell-off. [cite news|url=|title=BBC Resources spends £3.4m on consultants to advise on sell-off|publisher=The Guardian|first=Tara|last=Conlan|date=2008-06-27|accessdate=2008-06-27]

Andrew Thornton was appointed as project director in early 2007 for the sale of the company, and in April Ernst & Young were named as external advisers.

The team responsible for this privatisation have been named as: Ed Murray, Victoria Custerson, Peter Ranyard, Grant Welland, Dominic Warren, Paula Hornby, Mike Goodie, Ali Jeremy,- other expertise "will be brought in as required".

This sale team is accountable to a BBC steering group consisting of: Zarin Patel, Nicholas Eldred, Stephen Kelly, Peter Salmon and John Smith.

On 16th August 2007 advertisements were placed in the Financial Times, The Times and Broadcast inviting expressions of interest for the acquisition of this commercial subsidiary, and stating that "it is expected that the sale of the business and transfer of BBC Resources staff to the successful bidder will take place by the end of March 2008, subject to contract negotiations and approvals". [cite web|url=|title=BBC kicks off sale for BBC Resources Ltd (BBC Resources website)|accessdate=2007-09-08]

On 6th November The Guardian reported [cite web|url=|title=BBC sell-off hit by £15m hitch (Media Guardian - 6 Nov. 2007)|accessdate=2007-11-07] that the privatisation could be left with a shortfall of up to £15m to cover the transfer of the pensions of BBC Resources staff to a potential new employer. [cite web|url=|title=BBC Resources sale could be unprofitable (Wikinews - 8 Nov. 2007)|accessdate=2007-11-09]

The BBC has never released the names of the short-listed companies, [cite web|url=|title=MP raises fears over BBC Resources (Media Guardian - 14 Jan. 2008)|accessdate=2008-01-31] with The Guardian reporting - in early 2008 - more leaks over concerns about pension obligations and asbestos exposure. [cite web|url=|title=BBC Resources poised for breakup (Media Guardian - 8 Feb. 2008)|accessdate=2008-02-08] On 7th March 2008 it was announced that the outside broadcast division would be sold, as expected, to Satellite Information Services [cite news|url=|title=BBC announces successful bidder for BBC Outside Broadcasts|publisher=BBC Press Office|date=2008-03-07|accessdate=2008-03-07] for £19.3m [cite web|url=|title=BBC outside broadcast sale raised £19m (Media Guardian - 9 July 2008)|accessdate=2008-07-09] - with a surprise announcement that the studios operation (employing around 350 staff at Television Centre and Elstree) would remain in BBC ownership. [cite web|url=|title=BBC Resources to be split up (Media Guardian - 7 March 2008)|accessdate=2008-03-07]

In early June 2008, the fate of the third business was put on hold with the BBC stating that "for the time being, we are no longer actively in discussion with a buyer for Post Production" and that "like Studios, Post Production will remain within BBC Resources, which will continue to operate as a wholly-owned commercial subsidiary of the BBC". The staff newspaper Ariel had reported on 18th March that Post's 400 staff had been told that the BBC "may need to look at other solutions if the business is not sold at this stage".

BBC Costume + Wigs

Costume and Wigs - trading as part of BBC Studios - was the second largest collection of its kind in the UK, after the leading suppliers Angels The Costumiers. It was not included in the privatisation, however in early October 2007 it was announced that the business was to close within six months and the entire stock sold as a complete collection. [cite web|url=|title=Weekend TV - Fancy one of Cranford’s frocks? (Times Online - 19 Nov. 2007)|accessdate=2007-11-19]

This sale fell through - the interested party was thought to have been prop hire company Superhire - and on 14th February 2008 the department ceased trading, [cite web|url=|title=BBC costumes arm in limbo (Media Guardian - 14 Feb. 2008)|accessdate=2008-02-14] with a BBC spokeswoman adding that "the arrangements [the corporation] was pursuing have not worked out and BBC Resources is currently inviting interested parties to consider making an offer to purchase." [cite web|url=|title= Sale of BBC costumes on hold as buyout fails (Independent - 15 Feb. 2008)|accessdate=2008-02-15]

The costume collection - consisting of over 1 million items - was eventually sold to costume house Angels and Bermans on 30 March 2008. [cite web|url=|title=New home for BBC costume archive (BBC News Online - 30 March 2008)|accessdate=2008-03-30]

The collection of wigs was sold separately to The Wig Store Limited [] a management buy-out put together by Philippa Devon and Alan Godleman. [cite web|url=|title=Angels the Costumiers purchases BBC’s costume collection (The Stage - 2 April 2008)|accessdate=2008-04-20]


External links

* [ BBC Resources' web site]
* [ BBC Resources sale delayed until 1st June 2007] (BBC)
* [ BBC OBs move] [ to new address]
* [ BBC nearer to BBC Resources sale] (Digital Spy)
* [ BBC cues up Resources sell-off] (Guardian)
* [ BBC begins Resources sell-off] (Digital Spy)
* [ Elstree's EastEnders studio up for sale] (Times Online)
* [ BBC not selling Elstree - yet] (Borehamwood & Elstree Times)
* [ EastEnders evicted in latest BBC cost cut] (Telegraph)
* [ Another BBC asset to be sold off] (Rapid TV News)
* [ Privatisation of BBC Resources] (Times Online)
* [ BBC TV Centre sale looks unlikely] (Guardian)
* [ BBC keeps studios in Resources sale] (Digital Spy)
* [ BBC Outside Broadcasts to be sold to Satellite Information Services] (Wikinews)

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