BBC: We need to invest in comedy

Market is failing the genre

The BBC needs to make more comedy because hard-up commercial broadcasters can’t afford the risk, one of the corporation’s most senior executives has said.

BBC Vision director Jana Bennett has vowed to invest in comedy, saying it is a ‘market-failure’ genre, which is not being properly served elsewhere.

She told producers at the BBC Vision Forum: ‘We used to think of religion, current affairs, and music and arts as the classic market failure genres – areas of output in which the BBC had a special responsibility.

‘To those, we could now legitimately add children’s, comedy, specialist factual and drama. All these genres could be endangered in this tougher commercial world. It's therefore vital that BBC Vision continues to invest in range and quality content during the current downturn.

‘We can invest in… new kinds of comedy without having to analyse the commercial return at every stage of development, commissioning and production.  That is the privilege the licence fee gives us.’

Published: 22 Sep 2009

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