What do I need to know about the BBC?

The BBC is a large organisation. This guide will help you understand its structure, purposes and origins.

BBC Academy

What is the BBC?

The BBC is a public service broadcaster established by Royal Charter. It's funded by the licence fee paid by UK households. It provides ten national TV channels, regional TV programmes, an internet TV service - BBC Three - 10 national radio stations, 40 local radio stations and an extensive website.

BBC World Service broadcasts to the world on radio, TV and online, offering news and information in 40 languages. We also have a commercial arm, BBC Studios, as well as a number of other commercial ventures.

Our mission is to act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain.

Our vision? To be the most creative organisation in the world.

How did the BBC begin?

How is the BBC organised?

A BBC logo surrounded by graphics saying BBC Studios, Deputy DG Group, News, Radio, Executive, Content and Nations.

How is the BBC organised?

  • Tim Davie, chief executive

    One of the BBC's commercial subsidiaries, which develops, produces, sells and distributes world-class content worldwide.

    It also runs globally branded commercial channels and extends our programme brands with live events and licensing

    It strengthens the BBC creatively and financially by securing IP and generating

  • Anne Bulford, deputy director general

    The Deputy Director General Group covers most of finance and operations, including Design & Engineering, Human Resources and Marketing & Audiences.

  • Francesca Unsworth, director and Current Affairs covers all platforms - TV, radio, mobile and online and includes the BBC World Service.

  • Ken MacQuarrie, director

    Nations & Regions produces content in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland across TV, radio and online.

  • Charlotte Moore, director

    Content covers material created for BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four and BBC iPlayer, including BBC Sport.

  • Tony Hall, director general

    The executive is responsible for the executive management of the BBC.

  • James Purnell, director

    The Radio & Education department includes network radio, the Proms, Children's, Learning and the Ideas Service.

  • BBC Executive CommitteeThe Executive Committee is responsible for the day-to-day management of the BBC
  • BBC BoardThe Board ensures that the BBC delivers its mission and public purposes

What is the BBC for?

The BBC has five public purposes. These are reviewed every 10 years and renewed in an agreement between the BBC and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The ninth Royal Charter and Agreement took effect on 1 January 2017 and will continue until the end of 31 December 2027.

What is the BBC for?

  • NewsTo provide impartial news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them
  • LearningTo support learning for people of all ages
  • CreativityTo show the most creative, highest quality and distinctive output and services
  • Diversity To reflect, represent and serve the diverse communities of all of the United Kingdom’s nations and regions and, in doing so, support the creative economy across the United Kingdom
  • WorldTo reflect the United Kingdom, its culture and values to the world

Where does the money go?

The bulk of the BBC's £5bn funding comes from the licence fee. It also raises around £1.3bn from selling its programmes for broadcast overseas.

Pie chart which says the BBC costs £12.25 per household in 2017/18. Television takes the biggest chunk at £6.40, with Radio at £2.06.
How your monthly licence fee is spent.
Spending on network television. A bar chart which shows BBC One gets £1.106 million, BBC Two £381million,  BBC News £53 million, BBC Four £44 million, CBeebies £30 million and BBC Parliament £2 million.
Spending on network television 2018-2019.
Network television cost per user hour -BBC Two 9p, BBC One 7p, BBC News 7p, BBC Parliament 4p, BBC Four 6p and CBeebies 3p.
Network television cost per user hour.
Spending on network radio - total spend £304 million in 2018-19. Radio 4 £96million, Radio 2 £50million, 5Live £46million, Radio 3 £39million, Radio 1 £40million, 6 music £12million, Asian Network £8million, 1 extra £7million, 5 Live sports extra £3million and 4 Extra £3million.
Spending on network radio.
Network radio cost per user per hour - cost of delivering to one user for one hour. Radio 3 6p, Asian Network 5p, 1 extra 3p, 5 live 3p, Radio 4 2p, 5Live sports extra 1p, Radio 1 1p, 6 Music 1p, 4 Extra 1p and Radio 2 1p.
Network radio cost per user hour.

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