Glasgow to get new £4m BBC digital hub as new Scottish channel gets final green light

The BBC has confirmed 60 new jobs will be created for a digital hub at its Pacific Quay headquarters in Glasgow.
The BBC has confirmed 60 new jobs will be created for a digital hub at its Pacific Quay headquarters in Glasgow.
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The BBC is to create 140 new jobs - 60 more than previously announced - in Scotland after broadcasting regulator Ofcom gave the final green light to its proposed new channel.

Director-general Lord Hall announced today that a new £4 million digital technology hub will be created in Glasgow, where the new channel is also being produced.

The 60 design and engineering jobs, to be based at Pacific Quay, are over and above 80 posts the BBC has pledged to create by the time the channel launches in February.

The new jobs, to be recruited over the next three years, will include exploring how the BBC develops services on “voice interactive devices” such as Amazon Echo Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s HomePod and creating a single digital platform for the BBC’s apps, websites and online ventures.

The BBC has previously pledged to spend an extra £40 million in Scotland in each of the next three years - £20 million in the new channel and £20 million on new Scottish programme for the network.

The centrepiece of the new channel, which will broadcast each evening from 7pm till midnight, will be an hour-long news programme, which will go out at 9pm. New comedy and drama series are expected to be shown, although around half of the new channel's content is expected to be made up of “repeats and archive programmes.”

Lord Hall said: “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. I’m delighted we’re 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.”

BBC Scotland director Donalda MacKinnon said: “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 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.”

Meanwhile Ofcom has insisted that the BBC’s plans will not “disproportionately” harm other outlets, including STV and daily newspapers.

Its ruling states: “Any adverse impacts on fair and effective competition resulting from the proposals as set out in the BBC’s submission to Ofcom are likely to be fairly limited.

“We acknowledge that some stakeholders, particularly STV, may experience negative effects as a result of the BBC’s proposal. However, taking these impacts on rivals into account, we do not believe that the proposed channel is likely to have a negative impact on citizens and consumers.”

However John McLellan, director of the Scottish Newspaper Society, said: “It’s a very disappointing outcome which ignores the legitimate concerns of commercial news providers, and despite months of investigation and consultation amounts to just accepting the BBC’s assurances that its plans do not encroach on private operations.

“There is not even a commitment to monitor the situation and surprisingly it seems that Ofcom has even less concern about the wider market impact than the old BBC Trust.”