How the BBC makes money

10 May 2021
What was claimed

The BBC receives £5 billion of public money.

Our verdict

This is the BBC’s total income, not just that from the licence fee (£3.5 billion) or public money. Much of the rest is generated from its commercial operations.

“Our national broadcaster, bolstered by £5billion of public money, is now identifiably the voice of non-Tory Britain.”

Sun columnist Trevor Kavanagh has claimed the BBC receives £5 billion of public money.

Mr Kavanagh appears to have confused the BBC’s total income with the amount of that income which comes from the public. 

The BBC’s income is around £5 billion (£4.943 billion in 2020, to be precise). 

Of this, around £3.5 billion is generated from the licence fee. But a significant amount is generated through other, non-public means.

For example, over £1.3 billion of income came through BBC Studios, one of its commercial arms, which, among other things, generates money by selling BBC content to international distributors.

BBC Studios also owns the UKTV channels, including Gold and Dave, through which it earns advertising revenue.

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