Under the terms of its Royal Charter, the BBC is permitted to undertake commercial activities, but these activities must be carried out by arm’s-length commercial subsidiaries of the BBC. The BBC’s largest commercial subsidiary is BBC Studios, which is a global production and distribution business. BBC Studios, alongside the other commercial entities of the BBC Group, provides financial returns to the BBC in several ways including annual dividend payments.

The BBC set itself a strategic priority to build commercial income as part of its ‘Value for all’ strategy announced in September 2020. It intends to secure the investment and partners required to make high-quality programmes in a competitive market while delivering value to licence fee payers through delivery of long-term, sustainable returns to the BBC.

We last reported on the performance of BBC Studio’s in 2020. BBC Studio’s income and profits have increased significantly since then and it has ambitious plans to double the size of the business (as at 2022) by 2028.


This study will look at the performance of BBC Studios, focusing on:

  • whether the BBC’s governance and structure of its commercial activities effectively support BBC Studios to deliver its strategic objectives
  • if BBC Studios’ performance to date met the BBC’s expectations
  • whether BBC Studios has a plan in place to sustainably meet the needs of the BBC in the longer term

NAO Team

Director: Louise Bladen
Audit Manager: Ashleigh Thorius