Marketing seizes control in BBC power struggle

The BBC’s marketing and communications division will for the first time set priorities for the public broadcaster and control the allocation of free airtime and creative content for trailers.

Director general Greg Dyke has used the arrival of the new director of marketing and communications, Andy Duncan, to give the department control of these two key areas. Previous marketing directors have failed to seize control of both remits.

Duncan, former European category director for foods and beverages at Unilever, started at the BBC on Monday, replacing Matthew Bannister, who left in December.

Once the Department for Culture, Media & Sport has given its approval, Duncan’s first priority will be the launch of free-to-air digital channels BBC3, BBC4 and the children’s services, as well as five digital radio stations.

Duncan says: “One of the things that Greg Dyke has specifically asked me to do is lead the prioritisation process within the BBC.”

Duncan believes that on-air trailers, which will now be controlled by marketing, should be more focused on specific priorities and their frequency should not increase.

He also wants to make marketing and communications central to the BBC’s offering, by working with other departments on issues such as programme development, and to ensure that consumer needs are met.

Duncan says he will not embark on a major reorganisation of the department, but the structure could “evolve over time”. He will also allocate particular projects to the BBC’s roster of creative agencies – Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters, Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO and Fallon.

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