The publicly funded British Broadcasting Corporation is to set up a new commercial arm to raise money from its assets, and has received the backing of culture secretary Tessa Jowell.

Yet to be given a name, the new entity will be the Corporation’s second unit devoted to the commercial arena, alongside BBC Worldwide, which generates cash from selling programmes and merchandising around the world.

The arm will be created by merging BBC Resources, BBC Technology and BBC Broadcast. The latter, currently part of BBC Television, is responsible for channel management, including branding, promotion and packaging.

Heading the new division will be Roger Flynn, formerly a senior executive at Prudential, Virgin and British Airways.

Flynn is expected to sit down with BBC director general Greg Dyke in coming months to agree five-year financial goals for the unit, which will have an estimated turnover of £450 million a year. The BBC is trying to make up for a shortfall in government funding of £1.1 billion over the next four years.

Money generated by the new unit will be pumped back into programming.

News source: Financial Times