BBC ordered to air more homegrown content

BBC Broadcasting House

British media regulator Ofcom has established new quotes for United Kingdom -originated shows on BBC channels, including in the areas of arts, music, comedy and kids' content.

On the content front, at least 75% of all programme hours on the most popular channels must be commissioned by the BBC for United Kingdom audiences. It will increase the relevant quotas for BBC One and Two, and introduce new ones for BBC Radio 1 and 2.

Under the new rules, kids services CBBC and Cbeebies mush respectively show 400 and 100 hours of new UK-commissioned programming each year.

The rules are part of a new operating licence for the broadcaster, the first since Ofcom took over regulating the BBC.

"Ofcom wants all parts of the U.K.to be accurately reflected, and invested in, by the BBC", the regulator stated. These will be proportionate with each nation's population size, ensuring that the BBC is catering to each region with an appropriate amount of specialised content. There are separate minimum quotas for each United Kingdom nation, largely based on population size.

In total, at least half of all network hours on the BBC's television channels must be made outside of London, with separate minimum quotas for each United Kingdom nation based on their population size.

The regulator has also ordered the BBC to spend the same on programmes per head in every nation.

Other stipulations in the new license include quotas for news and current affairs, arts, music and religious programs on BBC One and Two, and an improvement in diversity.

Ofcom said that the BBC "must broadcast more original United Kingdom programmes" to offer "high-quality, distinctive programmes for its entire audience".

Ofcom has also called for the BBC to provide regular and detailed updates on its progress in improving diversity.

Following recent unfavourable coverage of the BBC's hiring practices, Ofcom said it would impose a quotea of 15% of staff to be from ethnic minority grous and 50% of all staff and leadership roles to be filled by women by 2020. The watchdog said it would also carry out a review examining on-screen diversity and portrayal in the BBC's programmes, including in its popular peak time shows.

Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom Content and Media Policy Director, said: "The BBC is the cornerstone of United Kingdom broadcasting".

New quotas have been developed across children's, arts, music and comedy, so the BBC will offer "high-quality, distinctive programmes for its entire audience".

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