Birmingham’s digital credentials boosted by BBC investment

  • Corporation announces new home for BBC Three in Birmingham, putting city at heart of digital content

  • Region’s tech sector currently boasts more than 6,000 firms, delivering £1.6 million to local economy

Birmingham will be the new home for online channel BBC Three, following a package of measures announced by the Corporation today (Thu 12 May).

In a significant boost to Birmingham’s burgeoning digital offer, the BBC has revealed that the commissioning, publishing and some of the production of BBC Three’s short-form content will move to the city in a phased transition by 2018. The city will also host a new youth team within BBC News, who will be the main suppliers of the key news content for BBC Three’s Daily Drop.

Greater Birmingham’s digital sector currently includes more than 6,000 firms; more than any other core city in the UK. They employ some 36,000 people, delivering £1.6 million to the local economy. There are 1,000 students currently studying film, TV, media and animation in the city, while the region is also home to more than a quarter of the UK’s games workforce.

Neil Rami, Chief Executive of Marketing Birmingham, which operates inward investment agency Business Birmingham, said:

The BBC’s investment into Birmingham is a major boost to one of the UK’s best performing digital economies, further demonstrating that this region is being taken seriously as an exciting, tech-friendly location to set up and expand.
Birmingham’s business landscape has diversified in recent years, with the city making a real name for itself as a hub for the digital industry. With cutting-edge firms such as Virgin Media thriving here – along with plans by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight to launch a huge new film studio in the city – the spotlight is now firmly on Birmingham, creating substantial opportunities for our young and talented workforce.

Birmingham’s Digbeth district is at the epicentre of the city’s tech scene. The former industrial area is home to important hubs such as Innovation Birmingham Campus and the Custard Factory, where 400 businesses employ 2,000 people within the creative and digital sectors.

Lucan Gray, Owner of the Custard Factory, said:

BBC Three coming to Birmingham is another bit of fantastic news for the digital and creative economy of the city. Birmingham, and Digbeth in particular, is strengthening its position as a nationally recognised location for creative and digital businesses and organisations. The thriving eco-system of entrepreneurial start ups has been strengthened by world beating organisations over the last couple of years, including the BBC, Asos and Codemasters. The city has much to offer and this is now being recognised.

The Corporation’s move builds on BBC Three’s launch as an online channel and allows it to benefit from the wealth of young talent in Birmingham. Being co-sited with the BBC News team and the BBC Academy will also allow for increased collaboration as BBC Three reinvents the BBC's offer for young people.

The plans would move control of content budgets worth more than £10 million to BBC Birmingham putting it at the heart of producing fresh talent and innovative digital content for young audiences.

Tony Hall, BBC Director General, added:

We’re putting Birmingham at the heart of our innovation with BBC Three and making it home to a new youth team for BBC News. The city’s incredible diversity also means it’s the perfect place to lead our work to ensure we reflect the changing face of Britain.
This package is good news for Birmingham and good news for the BBC.

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