PACT, the trade body representing Britain’s independent production industry, has laid into plans by the BBC to compete directly for commissions – accusing the broadcaster of benefitting from illegal state aid.
BBC director general Tony Hall intends to go head to head with the UK private sector, including the makers of Sherlock and Downton Abbey, as well as take on internet services such as Amazon and Netflix.
John McVay, chief executive of PACT, said: “It would completely distort the market and damage an independent sector that is recognised as a world leader if the BBC was allowed to use public money to compete against commercial producers.
“The BBC is already a huge state intervention in the broadcast market. If they are now allowed to enter the production market in the way they want to that would not be right under state aid rules.”
In an effort to head off any such move PACT is warning that it may seek an intervention from the European competition watchdog, potentially scuppering Hall’s commercial production plans, which would be overseen by the wholly owned subsidiary BBC Studios.