BBC Trust sanctions retention of Lonely Planet

BBC Worldwide is to keep its Lonely Planet acquisition, following an 18-month review by the BBC Trust. However, it is highly unlikely there will ever be another commercial deal of that scale and nature for the division.

Publishing a new remit for the commercial arm of the BBC, Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons said there “would be an end to mergers and acquisitions unless there are exceptional circumstances”.

“The Trust and the Executive acknowledge that the boundaries for Worldwide activity need to be clearer,” he added.

The £89m deal to buy a 75% stake in Lonely Planet in 2007 led to an increased level of criticism of BBC Worldwide’s activities.

Earlier this year, MPs questioned the impact of its activities on commercial rivals, while News Corp chief executive and chairman James Murdoch has suggested the organisation is moving away from its core remit of providing public service content.

Lyons outlined a series of guidelines for BBC Worldwide, which sells the rights of programming such as Strictly Come Dancing to other countries. Within those he promised a “clearer focus” on securing value from the BBC’s own intellectual property and an exit from any activity that is “not in keeping with the BBC brand”.

He also made clear that BBC Worldwide’s plan for Lonely Planet “secures the best value for licence fee payers and will keep its long-term future under review”.

However, some of the other non-BBC branded international channels may not have a long-term future with Worldwide.

Lyons announced “a divestment of stakes in non-BBC branded international channels over time where it makes commercial sense”. This could include channels such as Animal Planet.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here