BBC Worldwide shake-up could see Radio Times sold

Steve Dinneen
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THE BBC may seek a commercial partner for its portfolio of magazines in a major shake-up of its Worldwide division.

Its iconic Radio Times magazine, launched in 1923 by Lord Reith, may be sold off completely as part of the radical plans.

It will also look at potential tie-ups with a number of rival publishers for magazines including Doctor Who, Gardeners’ World and Top Gear. As part of the plans some of the magazines would be licensed to the rival publishers.

However, analysts say the BBC is likely to maintain a strong editorial influence over the products, especially those baring the branding of its programming, over which it is fiercely protective.

The magazine division last year reported operating profit of £11.5m, down 31 per cent on the previous year. Sales were slightly up at £182.2m.

BBC Worldwide has appointed KPMG to help it find a partner for the magazine business.