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30/03/2011

BBC Trust Publishes Report On Producing Drama Costs

The BBC Trust has published an independent report commissioned from the National Audit Office on the BBC's management of the costs of producing continuing drama.
In 2009, the BBC spent £102.5 million (down from £108.6 million in 2002-03) making six continuing dramas or soap operas.
The NAO report concluded that, although the absence of formal audience-related performance objectives for individual dramas meant the NAO was unable to say whether the BBC is delivering value for money, the BBC has taken important steps towards achieving this.
The six continuing dramas reviewed were Casualty, Doctors, Eastenders and Holby City (broadcast throughout the UK), River City (broadcast in Scotland) and Pobol y Cwm (produced by the BBC for broadcast in Wales on S4C).
The review found that production costs on these long-running shows are tightly controlled, and that the average cost of producing an hour of continuing drama has fallen by 20% in real terms over the last eight years, with the programmes being delivered on time and largely within budget.
The report recommends the BBC strengthens its approach to achieving value for money in continuing drama by being more systematic in comparing and challenging production costs and processes.
Amyas Morse, Head of the National Audit Office, said: "The BBC is doing a good job of applying basic financial controls and achieving steady cost reduction across its portfolio of continuing dramas. However, it should take a more holistic approach and compare the cost of these programmes with audience levels and opinions, both targeted and achieved, as these are critical measures of broadcast performance and a key guide to whether the continuing dramas are delivering value for money."
(KMcA)
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