From The Week 29 October 2022

I’m The BBC still offers excellent value for money. For £159 a year (£27.12 more than a standard annual Netflix subscription), it it provides eight TV channels, 62 radio stations, international news in more than 40 languages, five orchestras, and a huge web presence, among other things. But it’s no longer a creative powerhouse in its own right. In many respects it’s now more of a commissioning body (albeit one with 22.000 employees) that buys content from independent producers. It has sold off its technology division, its publishing arm, its costume and wig department, and its main London studios.
Last year, the BBC raised £3.8bn in licence fee revenue, and made £1.5bn from its commercial ventures. (In real terms, its funding has been cut by 25% since 2010.) Last year, it spent £3bn on content: £314m on news; £376m on film and drama; £94m on sport. These are big figures, but they pale into insignificance beside the amounts spent by the US streamers. Last year, Netflix spent about $17bn (£15bn) on content, Amazon $13bn (£11.5bn), and Disney $25bn (£22bn). The BBC’s reach is still massive – 90% of UK adults use BBC services every week – but Netflix overtook the BBC’s iPlayer in terms of users back in 2019.