The new hub of more than 110 people – which will include the existing BBC design and engineering team in Pacific Quay, Glasgow – will play a critical role in delivering the BBC’s ambition to reinvent itself for a new generation. It adds to the recent £40m-a-year BBC investment in Scotland that will see the addition of a new TV channel – which was given final approval by Ofcom this week – along with more network TV content.
The new roles will focus on three areas:
- Voice platforms – looking at how the BBC develops services on new voice interactive devices and smart speakers such as Amazon Echo Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s HomePod
- Education – helping deliver the BBC’s education mission and build on the success of BBC Bitesize
- BBC platform – developing a common digital platform for the BBC to run its apps, websites and online experiences
Tony Hall, BBC director-general says: “Ofcom giving the green light for the new channel is great news. The new service has huge potential and I’m excited about what it can achieve. But it’s not the only good news. I am delighted that we are also investing £4 million to create a new digital hub in Glasgow – a forward looking city that has real vibrancy and energy. It’s the perfect location.”
Matthew Postgate, BBC chief technology & product officer says: “We know there is a huge amount of technological and creative talent in Scotland. We’re looking forward to creating a digital hub in the heart of this thriving community, which will use that talent and expertise to transform the BBC, not only in Scotland – but throughout the UK.”
The news follows the corporation’s earlier announcement that it is making the biggest single investment in broadcast content in Scotland in over 20 years, creating more than 80 new jobs in news alone for the new channel on top of another 22 local democracy jobs to boost local authority reporting across the country.
Creation of the new technology roles, added to the news and local democracy appointments, will see the BBC create in excess of 160 new jobs in Scotland as its investment plans kick in over the next few years. In addition, the BBC Scotland Glasgow HQ at Pacific Quay is also now home to the new Scottish National Film and Television School hub which will see around 450 students attending a variety of broadcast courses every year.
The additional £40m invested in BBC Scotland will be split between TV services specifically for audiences in Scotland and additional network programming made in Scotland for audiences across the UK and beyond. It includes the new TV channel for Scotland from February 2019 that will bring more than 900 additional hours of programming every year for audiences in Scotland and includes a new hour-long news programme every evening from 9pm.
Donalda MacKinnon, BBC Scotland Director, says: “Bringing another 60 highly-trained technology roles to Scotland, on top of the 50-plus we already have, is a sign of the BBC’s commitment to spreading our investment across the UK. These new roles, added to the 80-plus jobs being created in news and the new channel, will build on Scotland’s growing reputation as a media centre of real clout.”