25 January, 2008 – BBC Director General calls for 'historic shift' at Salford Quays conference
BBC Director General, Mark Thompson spoke about his vision for the future of the Corporation at a Salford University-organised conference held near the mediacity:uk site at Salford Quays.
Speaking at the 15th ‘Television from the Nations and Regions’ event, Mark talked about how he wanted to see "an historic shift" in the shape of the BBC.
He said: "By the end of this charter period in 2016, I believe that nearly half of all TV network commissions will be produced outside the M25."
He also pledged to have half of the BBC’s estate outside London and renewed the BBC’s commitment to having half of its staff in the nations and Regions at the end of this eight year period.
Mark’s lecture was delivered to over 400 media industry workers and academics, who were also present to see the debut public appearance by mediacity:uk MD Brian Greasley and a heated debate between Minster of State at the Scottish Office David Cairns MP and Peter Wishart, media spokesman for the Scottish National Party – the first time they had shared a platform on the issue of TV devolution for Scotland.
He also spoke about how saw the Salford Quays site as the model for how the BBC should be operating – giving staff the opportunity to build ‘a complete media career’ without moving to London.
Mark said he was "not ruling out" moving a channel to the Quays in future but that this is not part of current plans.
Asked by conference chair Steve Hewlett – journalist and Salford University Visiting Professor – about using License Fee money to support other networks such as Channel 4, Mark argued against such a move.
He said: "I’m yet to be convinced about this argument. I believe it would dilute the service and damages the public’s understanding of the purpose of their fee."
The Conference also included a masterclass from TV soap script-writers from popular series such as Eastenders and Coronation Street.
Source: University of Salford press release