The BBC is under fire after failing to meet its quota for independently sourced shows for the third consecutive year.
A new report from the Office of Fair Trading reveals that the publicly funded broadcaster commissioned 21% of its programming from independent producers in the twelve months to March 2003. This is lower than the previous two years and beneath the 25% minimum set by the government in 1990.
The Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television claimed the industry had missed out on £77 million ($130.7m; €112.2m) over the period as a result. "Yet again this is another stark illustration of the casual disregard displayed by the BBC towards the indie sector," fumed PACT ceo John McVay. "And it proves that the BBC doesn't even bother to treat the quota as a ceiling."
The producers organisation will urge new communications regulator Ofcom to clamp down on the BBC, using "sanctions" if necessary.
The BBC acknowledged the OFT figures and blamed them on the decision not to count Endemol – maker of BBC1 show Fame Academy, among others – as independent.
"We recognise that we have missed the quota but we are totally on course to achieve it for 2003/4," the Corporation declared. "For us the quotas are not the full story, what matters is that our investment into the industry has increased year on year."
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff