BBC Vision director Jana Bennett has claimed the economic downturn has turned comedy and drama into “market failure” genres.Update: Bennett also said that BBC Children’s budget is set to increase by at least £25m over the next three years thanks to cost savings at the corporation.
Speaking at the BBC Vision Forum for in-house and indie producers, Bennett said the crisis in commercial TV funding meant BBC needed to take extra responsibility in previously buoyant genres.
She said: “We used to think of religion, current affairs, and music and arts as the classic market failure genres – areas of output in which the BBC had a special responsibility. To those, we could now legitimately add children’s, comedy, specialist factual and drama. All these genres could be endangered in this tougher commercial world.”
Update (24.09.09): Here's the BBC Press release
Jana Bennett also confirmed that BBC Two's drama spend would increase by 50% over the next three years and that the channel would become the home for BBC Films, "to create a core of distinguished fiction on the channel".And here's the full transcript of Jana Bennett's speech.