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Superbrands case studies: BBC

The BBC is the world's best known broadcasting brand, informing, educating and entertaining the UK. Today's digital BBC plays a key civic role in UK life and aims to be the most creative, trusted organisation in the world and to enrich people's lives with great programmes and services. BBC content is watched, listened to or accessed online via eight national TV channels, 10 national radio stations, 240 websites and 40 local radio stations.

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Market
The British broadcasting market is being transformed by digital technology and by 2012 the whole of the UK will be receiving digital television. Already 75 per cent or nearly 19 million households receive digital multi channel television and radio services from Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview. Around 11 million homes and small businesses now have broadband connection.

The original public service broadcasters, BBC, ITV, Channel Four and Five, are now multi-platform, multi-media brands operating 24 hours a day seven days a week with significant online presence. Viewing share of digital only channels is over 30 per cent but the public service broadcasters' new digital channels have helped them hold up overall portfolio share.

The introduction of digital recording and high definition television flat screen sets is helping to drive consumer sales as well as extra services including 'seven day watch again'. A new range of channel operators, including BT, are also launching mobile television services aimed at the rapidly growing 3G subscriber base. The total UK television and radio market is estimated to be worth just under £12 billion.

Achievements
In 2006/07 the BBC received 235 programme-related awards across television, radio and new media. These included 32 Baftas (TV, Children's and Craft); 52 RTS awards (Programme, Journalism, Sports, Educational, North West, Craft and Design); 18 Sony Golds for Radio; four Webby awards for online service, as well as three International Emmys for television.

The BBC takes its corporate and environmental responsibilities seriously and works toward bringing added value to the licence fee through non-commercial partnerships, improving sustainability and minimising adverse impact on natural resources. The Business in the Community Corporate Responsibility Index 2007 awarded the BBC platinum status for work on managing social and environmental impact.

Product
The BBC is primarily thought of as a creator of high quality content and programming, whether on radio, on TV or online. The product offer is a very complex mix, with 21 major television, radio and online public service brands to fulfil the promise of providing something of quality for everyone.

Today's BBC television and radio brands, particularly BBC One and BBC Two and Radio's 1, 2, 3, 4 and Five Live, are hugely popular, attracting large terrestrial audiences. The main channels are complemented by new digital brands, BBC Three and BBC Four on television and BBC Radio 1 Xtra, BBC Five Live Sports Extra, BBC 6 Music, BBC 7 and the Asian Network on digital radio. The online destination, bbc.co.uk is a recognised brand leader in the UK.

The BBC's Nations and Regions services for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland produce extensive local programming, and, particularly for news, significant audiences. The BBC also runs orchestras and choirs, actively develops new talent and supports training and production skills for the British broadcasting, music, drama and film industries.

The BBC is financed by the TV licence paid by all television households. This means it does not have to serve the interests of advertisers or shareholders and can concentrate on providing high quality programmes and services for everyone, many of which would not otherwise be supported by subscription or advertising.

Recent developments
The BBC was granted a new 10 year Royal Charter at the end of 2006 which clearly defined what the licence fee payer should expect in a wholly-digital, on-demand world. It set out the BBC's public purposes, defining a unique role for the UK broadcaster over the next decade. A new BBC Trust, which sets the BBC's objectives, defends it from political and commercial pressures and reports on its performance in its annual report to licence fee payers and Parliament, was set up to regulate it.

The digital revolution is changing the BBC from a one-way, primarily studio based broadcaster of programmes, into an audience focused anytime, anywhere, anyhow, content brand. The BBC plans to launch Freesat - a new national free-to-view satellite service with ITV - which will offer up to 200 channels, full interactivity and high definition broadcasts. iPlayer, an internet delivered seven day catch up service is due later in 2007. BBC radio's 'listen again' and podcasting services already attract millions of regular online users.

The BBC is also required to generate additional revenues by exploiting programme assets that have been paid for by public money. BBC Worldwide sells programmes and footage, and is the UK's number one international television channel broadcaster, with 18 channels, including BBC America. Worldwide produces books, DVDs and other merchandise linked to programmes and is a joint partner in UKTV. The commercial activity is carried out at arms-length and revenues are re-invested in the core public service.

Promotion
The trademark block letters of the BBC master brand are instantly recognisable, understood as standing for quality programmes and services. It appears on everything from channel identities to station literature and commercial magazines as well as buildings, flags, vehicles, huge music and other events, books, DVDs and online around the world.

Today's master brand logo was redesigned in the late 1990s to give a simpler, less cluttered image. The subsidiary brand identities for channels and services are regularly refreshed and rethought in the light of market changes and audience research. BBC One and BBC Two have both unveiled new looks this year that are more emotionally engaging for the audience.

BBC's marketing, communications and audience research services aim to produce integrated communications campaigns supported by on air trails, posters, print media and live events. The Radio Times also provides invaluable promotion for BBC programmes.

Brand values
The BBC's core public service purpose to inform, educate and entertain is embedded in the organisation's core values. The BBC has always paid great attention to its audiences' comments and in the digital age they say that as a broadcaster the BBC has to be trusted, entertaining, prepared to take risks and produce stimulating, talked about content and keep people connected. Politically the BBC is constitutionally independent and impartial in all its extensive journalism and factual content.

Things you didn't know about BBC

  • The BBC is a leading global news brand -- 233 million people use its combined international television, radio and online services every week.
  • There have been over 15,000 editions of The Archers radio serial to date.
  • The BBC was originally formed in 1922 by wireless manufacturers keen to promote the sales of radio sets.
  • Blue Peter started in 1958 and is the world's longest running children's programme.

Timeline
1960s
Television goes from black and white to colour. Radio launches its new 'pop' station Radio One, along with Radio's Two, Three and Four.

1970s A vintage period for television drama includes: I Claudius; Pennies from Heaven; and Last of the Summer Wine. New comedy includes: Are You Being Served?; The Good Life; and Fawlty Towers. Documentaries include The Ascent of Man and The Family.

1980s In 1985, in Ethiopia, reporter Michael Buerk alerts the world to a famine of Biblical proportions. This leads to the Live Aid concert which raises more than £60 million. Also in the 1980s, the BBC covers the Falklands War and the miners' strike, as well as launching Eastenders.

1990s BBC Radio 5, the first new network for 23 years, launches in 1990. New comedy shows include Have I Got News for You. Costume drama sees Middlemarch and Pride and Prejudice air. Groundbreaking programmes include The Human Body and Walking with Dinosaurs.

2000s Landmark television programmes include: Blue Planet; Planet Earth; and Simon Schama's A History of Britain. Comedies include: The Office; Little Britain; and The Royle Family.

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