BBC Mulls Sale of Commercial Magazines Unit

08 June 2004

BBC Worldwide, the commercial subsidiary of the British state broadcaster, is re-thinking the future of its magazines business as it prepares for publication of its charter review submission at the end of the month.

The current 10-year Royal Charter, which controls BBC activities, expires in 2006. Prior to renewal, a review detailing the quality of service and future prospects will be undertaken.

Profits for BBC Worldwide reached £123 million ($226.4m; €183.7m) last year, a significant proportion of which was provided by the sale of BBC-branded magazines, averaging 100 million copies a year.

Following rivals' criticism of the publicly-funded broadcaster's commercial activities, the BBC sought a joint venture partner for its magazine arm, the third largest such publisher in the UK. However, it now looks more likely to sell the business as a sop to government pressure and the complaints of publishing competitors.

STOP PRESS 09.00GMT Tue 08-Jun-04
BBC Denies Magazine Sale Plans

A BBC Worldwide spokesman insisted last night: "There are no plans whatsoever to sell off the magazines business, which is very successful as it is. In fact we are developing that business which has been proved with the recent purchase of Origin."

The mouthpiece also denied claims that the broadcaster seeks a joint venture partner for its magazine business.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff