BBC Scotland

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BBC Scotland is a television channel which is due to launch in Autumn 2018. It was one of the outcomes of a Corporation review into programming and services in the nations as part of the new BBC Charter period which began in 2017. Attracting £19m of additional investment, it was billed by the BBC as "the biggest single investment in broadcast content in Scotland in over twenty years". The proposals are subject to approval by the BBC’s new unitary board, and as necessary, by Ofcom.

Headline points

  • Broadcast from 7pm every evening;
  • Provide a full mix of content to inform, educate and entertain – including its own integrated hour-long news programme at 9pm (15 mins at 7pm weekends), edited and presented from Scotland (this will lead to the creation of around 80 new journalist posts);
  • Work in close partnership with the creative sector, other national institutions and other broadcasters to produce and acquire content;
  • Work in collaboration with other BBC television channels to offer additional content;
  • Have its own prominent EPG slot on broadcast channels in Scotland;
  • Be available online and in iPlayer in HD in Scotland and across the UK;
  • Support the delivery of extra programmes for BBC Alba as well including weekend news in Gaelic;
  • Together with existing funding, the channel will have an initial budget of over £30m.

Quotes

In a media release, the Director-General Tony Hall said:

We know that viewers in Scotland love BBC television, but we also know that they want us to better reflect their lives and better reflect modern Scotland. It is vital that we get this right. The best way of achieving that is a dedicated channel for Scotland. It’s a channel that will be bold, creative and ambitious, with a brand-new Scotland-edited international news programme at its heart. The BBC has the luxury of having first-class creative teams and brilliant journalists, who I know will make this new channel a huge success.

The media release elaborated on the rationale for the new channel:

There is a huge appetite from audiences in Scotland for more content that reflects their lives. Audiences in Scotland watch more TV than the national average. Our TV offer performs well so we think there is a real opportunity to build on that success. In our audience research there was strong enthusiasm for a TV channel that took Scottish identity and culture seriously.[1]

Budget

The initial proposal was to invest £19m a year into the new Scottish channel and in digital developments. Together with existing funding of roughly £10m, the total channel budget amounted to around £30m.

Programming

The regular schedule will start at 7pm and end at midnight. Initial plans include new originations (60 per cent of the total), an integrated news programme at 9pm (15mins at 7pm at weekends), acquired programmes and programmes from partners in the creative sector and from other countries and a selection of content sourced from other BBC services.

Integrated hour-long news programme

In a media release, the BBC explained the purpose of its proposed hour-long news programme:

The aim of the integrated hour-long news programme at 9pm is to provide comprehensive reporting and analysis of the news at the end of the day from a Scottish perspective. It will draw on the best news content from network news and Reporting Scotland, reworking where necessary, and include substantial original journalism from an expanded BBC Scotland specialist team. There will be scope for live interviews with the best of the BBC’s Newsgathering correspondents around the world and BBC Scotland reporters and correspondents; and live interviews with the day's news-makers. It will broadcast in a timeslot which attracts the largest available audience. It will not compete with any other terrestrial news programmes and will offer audiences an alternative to high-end drama and entertainment scheduled at this time on other channels.[2]

References

  1. 'Biggest BBC investment in Scotland in twenty years', BBC Media Centre, 22 February 2017.
  2. 'Biggest BBC investment in Scotland in twenty years', BBC Media Centre, 22 February 2017.