The BBC is marking 10 years of MediaCityUK by doubling down on its commitment to the North of England.
With an extra £700 million cumulatively to be invested outside London, the Corporation is planning 1,000 new jobs outside the capital.
It has been a decade since the BBC made the move to Salford, one of the most ambitious projects in the organisation’s history, and it has pledged to build upon its success in the region.
Over the next six years it will increase activity across the North to further cement a commitment to reflect, represent and serve all parts of the country, and deliver great value for all audiences.
Currently, half the BBC is based outside of London, with departments including Children’s (CBeebies and CBBC), Sport, and Radio 5 Live, as well as local and regional services and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, relocating to Salford in 2011.
Bridge House, Dock House and Quay House are now home to some 4,000 BBC staff, and BBC Breakfast, Match of the Day, Blue Peter and Dragons’ Den are just some of the programmes which are produced at MediaCityUK.
Proposals set out in a plan entitled ‘The BBC Across the UK’ give greater prominence to stories from communities across the North region, as part of the biggest creative and journalistic reshaping of the BBC in its history.
The BBC base in MediaCityUK will become the main centre for digital and technology teams – a global hub of excellence.
BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 6 Music will be rooted in the North with more than 50% of their broadcast hours coming from Salford. And hit BBC One daytime show Morning Live will broadcast from there all year-round. Radio 1 have announced that Dean McCullogh’s new weekend show will be broadcast from Salford from 10 September.
An original long-running drama series produced in the North of England will also be launched and broadcast across the country, while the North will get its continuity announcements with BBC One tailored to audiences in the North West, North East and Yorkshire.
‘The Writersroom’, the BBC’s home for new writing talent, will be expanded with a new Head of New Writing based at BBC North, tasked with discovering and developing new writers.
It also committed to dramatically increasing its economic, cultural, and social impact across the UK with an extra £700m cumulatively to be invested outside London.
The plan will mean more than 1,000 extra jobs beyond London – as well as supporting hundreds of new roles in the TV and audio production sector across the nations and regions. Two-thirds of BBC Three spend will be outside London. More than 100 new and returning drama and comedy titles will reflect the lives and communities of audiences outside London.
Helen Thomas, Director of BBC England, said: “Our move to Salford was the catalyst for the development of MediaCityUK, which has provided thousands of jobs and pumped millions of pounds into the regional economy. We’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved, and those significant benefits it has brought to the region over the last decade.
“And we’re hugely excited about our truly ambitious plans for the future. Building on the strengths of our brilliant base in Salford we will develop it into an even bigger and more successful hub for popular TV, digital and radio, business news, and arts and culture.”
Alongside the BBC plan, independent research has been published that shows the broadcaster’s positive impact on the creative economy and its increasing contribution across the UK.
According to the recent report from KPMG, the BBC has played a role in cultivating Salford as a creative and digital cluster. Employment in the sector has seen growth of 142% between 2010 and 2019, and the number of digital or creative businesses has grown by 70%.
More broadly, it finds every £1 of the BBC’s economic activity generates a total of £2.63 in the economy. In 2019/20 the BBC generated an estimated £4.9bn in the UK economy – £1.5bn more than if it was performing in line with the industry average. Around half of the BBC’s total economic contribution was generated outside of London – compared to an average in the sector of 20% – an increase from 32% in 2012.
The report also reveals the BBC is supporting a total of over 53,000 jobs – with over half outside of London – and for every one job directly created by the BBC, a further 1.7 jobs were created in the wider economy.
Stephen Wild, Managing Director of MediaCityUK, said: “The presence of the BBC at MediaCityUK has been a game-changer for the creative, digital and tech sector in the region, kickstarting the ever-growing cluster of creative businesses around it, while unlocking the kind of employment opportunities which historically would have only been found on this scale in London.
“This has meant we can retain talent in the North and secure the growth of this exciting sector for the long term. The BBC’s commitment to MediaCityUK has without doubt placed Salford and Manchester on the national and international map and we’re proud to support the BBC with its ongoing expansion plans.”