The children's business will be renamed as Children's and Licensing and is now headed up by new MD Neil Ross Russell (pictured).
It will be structured with three main strands focusing on pre-school, pre-teen and adult licensing. The name change is designed to reflect the importance of maximising global licensing opportunities for adult brands such as Top Gear and Planet Earth in addition to children's hits such as In the Night Garden, Teletubbies, Doctor Who and Charlie and Lola, in order to channel the profit back into children’s programming at the BBC.
Neil Ross Russell, Managing Director of Children’s and Licensing, BBC Worldwide said: “Coming to this role, it was clear to me that we have a exceptional pipeline of content from the BBC with brands like Planet Earth and Top Gear, and from Indies with our partners such as Tiger Aspect and Ragdoll. The growing success of BBC channels internationally also provides us with great broadcast platforms but we are not currently set up to make the most of licensing opportunities outside of the UK.”
He added: “At a time when there are more brands than ever in the market, this new structure will allow us to provide each brand in our portfolio with the focus and attention it deserves.”
In addition BBCW also announced a new agreement with joint venture partner Ragdoll which sees it oversee US and Canada TV sales and licensing for programmes such as Teletubbies and In the Night Garden. With the addition of North America, BBC Worldwide now represents global distribution rights, excluding UK broadcast, for all Ragdoll properties.
Mark Hollingsworth, CEO of Ragdoll said: “Following the creation of the joint venture between Ragdoll and BBC Worldwide, it is a natural progression for Ragdoll to merge its North American Division with the Children’s and Licensing team at BBC Worldwide in New York. This further strengthens our partnership with BBC Worldwide as we extend our collaboration in managing the Ragdoll portfolio in the U.S and Canada.”
BBC Worldwide Children’s and Licensing, will also look to explore new opportunities for brands in the US with the recruitment of a newly created role of Global Head of Licensing. The role will be based in BBC Worldwide’s New York office and sit alongside Susanna Pollack, SVP TV Sales, Co-Productions & Children’s and her team