BBC Asian Network to sharpen focus on news output

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The BBC has published its Annual Plan for 2017/18. Under the Corporation’s new 11-year Charter the BBC has an obligation to publish its creative and work plans for the forthcoming year. The Annual Plan is a key document in the relationship between the BBC and Ofcom, and an essential part of accountability to licence fee payers.

As part of this publication the BBC is announcing its biggest investment in children’s services in a generation – an additional £34 million across the three years to 2019/20, over and above existing budgets.

Moreover, BBC Asian Network, which has been undergoing a period of change over the past 12 months, will continue to refocus on a younger audience and developing its role as a source of new talent with new shows for Emily Lloyd-Saini and Guz Khan. The station will sharpen its focus on news and documentary output that provides a forum for audience discussion and debate as well as providing a key platform for new comedy talent.

The BBC Asian Network’s core commitments will also include:
• Continue to act as a showcase for the British Asian sound and a platform for the best new music and artists
• Key platform for creative talent and events, from new comedy voices to landmark events such as Ramadan and the London Mela. The station will broadcast a special Asian Underground season for 2017/18
• It will evolve to remain relevant and engaged with a younger British Asian audience with blend of new talent, new UK and South Asian music

The BBC Asian Network’s budget spend for 2017/2018 will be £7m, compared to BBC 1Xtra’s £6m budget for the same period.

Speaking about the Annual Plan, Sir David Clementi, BBC Chairman, says, “This Annual Plan outlines how we will strengthen the core values of public service broadcasting for all audiences – first and foremost through the brilliant year of programmes and services that it describes. And it offers a framework against which the Board will be able to assess the performance of the BBC and monitor progress. We are united as a Board in implementing these plans with one voice.”

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, says, “Our ambition to reinvent the BBC for a new generation is our biggest priority for next year. Every part of the BBC will need to contribute to meeting this challenge. In this plan we set out our creative vision and some of the strategic decisions we will need to take to help us achieve that goal.

“The new funding we’ve announced today for our Children’s services – the biggest investment for a generation – will help us ensure we can maintain our reputation for world-class programmes across our linear channels, but also increasingly offer a personalised online offering for our younger viewers. By keeping our focus on our audiences we’ll be best placed to meet the challenges ahead of us and will ensure the BBC of 2022 continues to serves the whole of the UK.”

The BBC will publish a final copy of the Annual Plan later this year, following publication of Ofcom’s finalised Operating Licence for the BBC.

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