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BBC unveils major investment package to safeguard Birmingham presence

BBC unveils major investment package to safeguard Birmingham presence

🕔12.May 2016

Here is the news from the BBC – and for once it’s a good story for Birmingham.

The Corporation has announced a major investment package to boost its presence at its Mailbox headquarters.

Birmingham has been chosen as the location for a new dual base for BBC Three.

The commissioning, publishing and some of the production of BBC Three’s short form content, and the social media team that supports it, will move to the city in a phased transition by 2018.

Additional resources will be put into BBC Three to innovate and further develop the Daily Drop, and new commissioner and assistant commissioner roles based in Birmingham will be created to exclusively commission short-form content.

Birmingham will also be the home of a new youth team within BBC News who will be the main suppliers of the key news content for BBC Three’s Daily Drop.

The plans will move control of content budgets worth more than £10 million to BBC Birmingham, putting it at the heart of producing fresh talent and innovative digital content for young audiences.

The decision brings to an end several years of entrenchment by the BBC in Birmingham following the closure of the Pebble Mill studios and the opening of a smaller base at the Mailbox.

Birmingham city council leader John Clancy welcomed the move, which he said would have been “unimaginable even 18 months ago”.

Cllr Clancy said Brummies would now be able to “play a starring role in the next exciting chapter of the BBC”. He added:

This is an important step in ensuring Birmingham is recognised for its youth, diversity and digital strengths, crucially safeguarding the BBC in the Midlands.

As a former teacher of media and film courses I know the wealth of talent that’s out there and our young people – either Birmingham-born or adoptive Brummies who attend our fantastic universities – have a massive contribution to make to our regional economy.

Today’s announcement ‘future-proofs the BBC in Brum by adding online youth content to our existing network radio and TV production.

We now make content for all of the BBC’s platforms. We will soon have based in The Mailbox about 750 people who represent a microcosm of all BBC activity – which for me is the measure of what the BBC should be like in this key regional centre.

A lot of people have made the case for a greater BBC presence in Birmingham. The successful campaign for a bigger share of the BBC is another illustration of the growing confidence in Birmingham. We’ll fight our corner together and will no longer accept a supporting role.

The BBC’s proposed local news partnerships are expected to be based in Birmingham alongside the English Regions HQ, moving control of more spend to the city.

These teams will be harnessed to act as part of the hub for the identification, development and commissioning of new diverse talent and programmes as announced in the BBC’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy last month.

To support this, the BBC Academy will launch a new scheme, the Birmingham Production Apprenticeship, for new off air talent from diverse backgrounds.

Tony Hall, BBC Director General, said:

I’ve seen in Birmingham how much of a difference our extra investment in the past couple of years has made – but I’ve also said there was more to do.

Now we’re putting Birmingham at the heart of our innovation with BBC Three and making it home to a new youth team for BBC News. The city’s incredible diversity also means it’s the perfect place to lead our work to ensure we reflect the changing face of Britain.

This package is good news for Birmingham and good news for the BBC.

Joe Godwin, Director BBC Birmingham, said:

The BBC has a rich history in Birmingham but also a bright future.

Today’s announcement builds on the £125m already invested in the city and its position as a centre of excellence for recruitment, training and digital innovation for the BBC.

Birmingham is a great city with a huge amount of potential. I am really pleased we will be dedicating even more resources, producing even more content, and creating more opportunities for the industry and our audiences in the region.

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