BBC Boost For Birmingham Media Scene

Bosses at the corporation have pledged a brighter future for Birmingham broadcasting after revealing it will become the new home of BBC Three.

The director of BBC Birmingham said it had acted upon a campaign initiated by Birmingham Post and Mail, calling for more investment in the region. Central to the latest move will be BBC Three, with commissioning, publishing, production and social media jobs for the channel moving to the city by 2018.

The youth and comedy channel – which was recently transformed into an online only outlet – will also create new commissioner and assistant commissioner roles based in Birmingham for the first time in years, with budgets of more than £10 million.

The announcement, which comes as a 10-year charter is thrashed out, will also see Birmingham become the home of a new BBC News youth team, while the Mailbox will become the headquarters for the corporation’s English regions. BBC Birmingham director, Joe Godwin, said:

“This is a time of austerity and a time of hard efficiencies and in that context this is a fantastic result for Birmingham. Very few conversations happen around the BBC without the word ‘Birmingham’ coming up and that wasn’t the case a few years ago.

“The manifesto changed the conversation from a slanging match about the BBC to a critical friend’s encouragement, and that has been really positive.”

There was stark criticism of the BBC's commitment to the West Midlands when, In 2004, the broadcaster reinvested just £80 million of the £942 million raised by Midland tax-payers in the region. It has since increased investment to £125 million a year in Birmingham alone, with about 700 people based at the Mailbox, albeit primarily working in HR.

This new announcement is a further boost – particularly as it delivers commissioning and production budgets, which are vital to the region. The final details of job creation and investment have not been disclosed as the process is still being worked up and will see roles shifted from London. However, Mr Godwin said it puts BBC Birmingham in a strong position for further growth. He said:

This future-proofs us. Some of the more traditional models that people have talked about, with BBC Studios, the changes to in-house production quotas, you don’t know where that would leave you.

“But after this, we will be able to say we make things for all the platforms – Radio Four, BBC One and BBC Three. Based on the last year, I would say Birmingham is right at the top of the agenda.”

Tony Hall, director general of the BBC, added: “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.”


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