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BBC, AudioUK Announce Commission Agreement

New BBC "Terms of Trade" increase commissions, support training and development

The BBC announced today its new “Terms of Trade” agreement for audio commissions, which increases investment in speech-based programming and supports training and development for the independent audio production sector.

The agreement was developed together with AudioUK, the U.K. trade association for audio content producers.

“Today’s ambitious deal with AudioUK, on behalf of the independent audio sector, ensures that the BBC will continue to be the place where producers come with their best ideas, resulting in an unrivalled content offer for our audiences, stated BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore. “The BBC has a unique role to play in the thriving UK audio sector, and our increased investment will boost British creativity and develop skills and production capabilities across the U.K.”

Under the new agreement, BBC Audio will increase the commission prices by 10% and establish a five-year license for use on the on-demand BBC Sounds platform and three packages of network transmission. Producers are given options in how their programs are distributed outside of the United Kingdom, along with program-related commercial and intellectual property rights.

“The BBC excels when collaborating with the sector, and we are pleased with its recognition of the need for a new approach to the Terms of Trade, to reflect developments in the audio industry and give producers more choice when it comes to their IP, as well as a baseline for commissioning terms,: stated AudioUK Managing Director Chloe Straw. “These terms provide a standard framework within which producers from across the UK can engage with the BBC.”

In 2023, BBC Radio was criticized by independent audio production groups, including AudioUK, for shifting program production to BBC Studios. The move, which the BBC characterized as an opportunity to grow opportunities to bring British programming to overseas audiences, was seen as putting BBC Studios into greater competition with independent producers of entertainment, factual and drama programs.

The new agreement affirms the BBC’s commitment to fair competition and commits the broadcaster to commissioning all new speech programs on an open, competitive basis.

To further support independent audio producers, the agreement sees the return of the BBC Radio Indie Development Fund for 2024/2025. Applications for the fund will open in mid-July, offering one-year grants of £10,000–£25,000 to support a range of purposes, including increasing and diversifying the talent pool and boosting production capabilities and training. Finally, the BBC is committing to a three-year investment in Audiotrain, a program established by AudioUK to nurture talent, refine skills, and build innovation in the audio industry through training, mentorships, and networking opportunities.

“We very much welcome the BBC’s support for our Audiotrain scheme as well as its continued backing of independent audio businesses through the Indie Development Fund,” Shaw stated.

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