11th July 2012
Dear Mr Baker, Freedom of Information request – RFI20120570
Thank you for your request to the BBC of 27th May seeking the following information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000:
The direct cost to the BBC to enter the Eurovision Song Contest since the last year in which data is
available and also the annual amount the BBC gives to the European Broadcasting Union in
membership fees also since the last year in which data is available.
Please note that the information you have requested about the cost to the BBC to enter the
Eurovision Song Contest is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of
‘journalism, art or literature.’ Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that information held by
the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act if it is held for
than those of journalism, art or literature” 1. The BBC is not required by the Act
to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that
supports and is closely associated with these creative activities; however, on this occasion we’re
happy to provide the below information in response to your request.
The BBC paid £310,000 for the entry into the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012. It is worth noting
that as other broadcasters contribute to the Eurovision Song Contest the BBC is able to deliver a
massive, live spectacle for a small fraction of the overall cost. The contest provides BBC viewers
with over seven hours of programming across BBC One and BBC Three, making it extremely cost
effective for a prime time entertainment programme.
1 For more information about how the Act applies to the BBC please see the enclosure at the end of this letter.
Please note that this guidance is not intended to be a comprehensive legal interpretation of how the Act applies to the
In relation to your question about the European Broadcasting Union,
I can confirm that
pays an annual subscription to the European Broadcasting Union: £1.2m in the last financial year.
Channel 4 and ITV are also members and pay separate and different subscriptions.
The subscription fee enables the BBC to access a wide range of broadcast related activities. These
include a number of sports events which the BBC secures through EBU negotiations on behalf of
its members and coverage of major world events such as the D-Day commemoration and the
funeral of the Pope.
However, the EBU-coordinated broadcast activities primarily used by the BBC are the exchange of
news and music programming and material. The exchange of news footage and audio material
between broadcasters - the Eurovision News Exchange is a significant source of international news
material used by the BBC. The music exchange programme enables Radio 3 listeners to hear
hundreds of concerts from across the globe on a regular basis. Similarly, the work of UK
performers receives global exposure through this exchange of programme material. The EBU also
offers a shared technical infrastructure and is a centre for research and development into new
ways of broadcasting and technical standards.
The BBC was one of the founding members of the European Broadcasting Union which came into
being in 1950 in Torquay. It is the world’s largest organisation of public service broadcasters with
core members from across Europe and associate members from further afield; including Australia,
US Public Service Broadcasters, Canada, Japan and Korea. It exists to promote co-operation
between broadcasters and sharing of material. It has links to equivalent organisations in Africa, the
Arab world and Asia. Appeal rights
If you are not satisfied that we have complied with the Act in responding to your request, you
have the right to an internal review by a BBC senior manager or legal adviser. Please contact us at
the address above, explaining what you would like us to review and including your reference
number. If you are not satisfied with the internal review, you can appeal to the Information
Commissioner. The contact details are: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, telephone 01625 545 700 or see http://www.ico.gov.uk/
Please note that the BBC does not offer an internal review when the information requested is not
covered by the Act. If you disagree with our decision you can appeal to the Information
Commissioner, contact details as above.
Claire Dresser Chief Adviser
Freedom of Information
From January 2005 the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives a general right of access to all
types of recorded information held by public authorities. The Act also sets out exemptions from that
right and places a number of obligations on public authorities. The term “public authority” is defined
in the Act; it includes all public bodies and government departments in the UK. The BBC, Channel 4,
S4C & Gaelic Media Services are the only broadcasters covered by the Act. Application to the BBC
The BBC has a long tradition of making information available and accessible. It seeks to be open and
accountable and already provides the public with a great deal of information about its activities. BBC
Audience Services operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week handling telephone and written
comments and queries, and the BBC’s website bbc.co.uk provides an extensive online information
It is important to bear this in mind when considering the Freedom of Information Act and how it
applies to the BBC. The Act does not apply to the BBC in the way it does to most public authorities
in one significant respect. It recognises the different position of the BBC (as well as Channel 4 and
S4C) by saying that it covers information “held for purposes other than those of journalism, art or
literature”. This means the Act does not apply to information held for the purposes of creating the
BBC’s output (TV, radio, online etc), or information that supports and is closely associated with
these creative activities.
A great deal of information within this category is currently available from the BBC and will continue
to be so. If this is the type of information you are looking for, you can check whether it is available
on the BBC’s website bbc.co.uk or contact BBC Audience Services.
The Act does apply to all of the other information we hold about the management and running of the
BBC. The BBC
The BBC's aim is to enrich people's lives with great programmes and services that inform, educate
and entertain. It broadcasts radio and television programmes on analogue and digital services in the
UK. It delivers interactive services across the web, television and mobile devices. The BBC's online
service is one of Europe's most widely visited content sites. Around the world, international
multimedia broadcaster BBC World Service delivers a wide range of language and regional services
on radio, TV, online and via wireless handheld devices, together with BBC World News, the
commercially-funded international news and information television channel.
The BBC's remit as a public service broadcaster is defined in the BBC Charter and Agreement. It is
the responsibility of the BBC Trust (the sovereign body within the BBC) to ensure that the
organisation delivers against this remit by setting key objectives, approving strategy and policy, and
monitoring and assessing performance. The Trustees also safeguard the BBC's independence and
ensure the Corporation is accountable to its audiences and to Parliament.
Day-to-day operations are run by the Director-General and his senior management team, the
Executive Board. All BBC output in the UK is funded by an annual Licence Fee. This is determined
and regularly reviewed by Parliament. Each year, the BBC publishes an Annual Report & Accounts,
and reports to Parliament on how it has delivered against its public service remit.