Leadership Training and Development at the BBC

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Case Details:

Case Code : HROB087
Case Length : 15 Pages
Period : 2000-05
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : BBC
Industry : Media and Broadcasting
Countries : Britain

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note

The BBC was founded on October 18, 1922, as the British Broadcasting Company, by a group of wireless manufacturers including Guglielmo Marconi (Marconi), inventor of the radio. Regular broadcasting began from Marconi's London studio on November 14, 1922. The company's mission was 'to inform, educate, and entertain.'

In 1927, the company's name was changed to the British Broadcasting Corporation and it was granted a Royal Charter, which put it under the control of the UK government (Refer Exhibit I for details of the Royal Charter). The BBC, which had no competitor at that time, generated revenues only through a license fee (10 shillings) set by the British Parliament and paid for by radio owners.

Human Resource and Organization Behavior | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Human Resource and Organization Behavior, Case Studies

It was not allowed to indulge in commercial activities such as advertising. In 1932, the BBC began broadcasts (BBC Empire Service) outside Britain for English-speaking people under the then British Empire.

After starting experimental broadcasts in 1932, the BBC officially started television services in November 1936, under the name BBC Television Service. It also issued 8.5 million radio licenses covering 98% of Britain's households.

During the Second World War, television broadcasts were suspended for security reasons and these recommenced only in 1946. Though television services were suspended during the War, the BBC continued with its radio broadcasts.

It earned a reputation for honest and accurate news reporting and its 9 o'clock news became very popular. The BBC Empire Service, which was renamed BBC External Service in 1940, was broadcasting radio programs in 40 languages by the end of the War. The BBC acquired the reputation of being impartial and its news was regarded as authoritative.

In 1946, a combined license fee for television and radio of 2 was introduced. The Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1949 required any person who possessed a television set to pay the license fee.

Till the early 1950s, radio dominated over television in Britain. There were around 12 million exclusive radio licenses while the combined licenses for radio and TV were only 350,000. The budget allocated for the television division was also negligible. However, this scenario changed with the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. For the first time, television was allowed to cover a royal ceremony and it was estimated that around 20 million TV viewers worldwide watched the coronation ceremony...

 Excerpts >>


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