Ofcom approval comes early; BBC adds £4 million digital hub to Scottish growth plans
BBC Scotland is to set up a new design and engineering hub in Glasgow, investing £4 million and recruiting an additional 60 people into technology and design-led roles over the next three years, the corporation announced today.
The news follows final approval from regulator Ofcom today for a new BBC Scotland channel, set to launch in November, with a programme budget of some £32 million per year. The BBC announced in February 2017 that it wanted to create the new channel. Ofcom had been expected to announce in July.
Announcement of plans for the new hub of more than 110 people – which will include the existing BBC Design + Engineering team in Pacific Quay, Glasgow – adds to the recent £40 million-a-year BBC investment in Scotlant.
Matthew Postgate, BBC Chief Technology & Product Officer said: “We know there is a huge amount of technological and creative talent in Scotland. We’re looking forward to creating a digital hub in the heart of this thriving community, which will use that talent and expertise to transform the BBC, not only in Scotland – but throughout the UK.”
Digital Hub – Three Areas of Focus
In a release shared today, the BBC said that the hub will focus on three areas:
– Voice platforms – looking at how the BBC develops services on new voice interactive devices and smart speakers such as Amazon Echo Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s HomePod
– Education – helping deliver the BBC’s education mission and build on the success of BBC Bitesize
– BBC platform – developing a common digital platform for the BBC to run its apps, websites and online experiences
Tony Hall, BBC Director-General said: “Ofcom giving the green light for the new channel is great news. The new service has huge potential and I’m excited about what it can achieve… I am delighted that we are also investing £4 million to create a new digital hub in Glasgow – a forward looking city that has real vibrancy and energy. It’s the perfect location.”
The additional £40m invested in BBC Scotland will be split between TV services specifically for audiences in Scotland and additional network programming made in Scotland for audiences across the UK and beyond.