The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)() is a British public service broadcasting corporation. Its main responsibility is to provide impartial public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man. It is the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees, with about 23,000 staff. The BBC is headquartered at Broadcasting House in London and has major production centres in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, London and Salford Quays and smaller production centres throughout the UK.
The BBC is a semi-autonomous public service broadcaster that operates under a Royal Charter and a Licence and Agreement from the Home Secretary. Within the United Kingdom its work is funded principally by an annual television licence fee, which is charged to all British households, companies and organisations using any type of equipment to receive live television broadcasts; the level of the fee is set annually by the British Government and agreed by Parliament.
Outside the UK, the BBC World Service has provided services by direct broadcasting and re-transmission contracts by sound radio since the inauguration of the BBC Empire Service on 19 December 1932, and more recently by television and online. Though sharing some of the facilities of the domestic services, particularly for news and current affairs output, the World Service has a separate Managing Director, and its operating costs have historically been funded mainly by direct grants from the British government. These grants were determined independently of the domestic licence fee and were usually awarded from the budget of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As such, the BBC's international content has traditionally represented – at least in part – an effective foreign policy tool of the British Government. The recent BBC World Service spending review has announced plans for the funding for the world service to be drawn from the domestic licence fee.
The Corporation's guaranteed income from the licence fee and the World Service grants are supplemented by profits from commercial operations through a wholly owned subsidiary, BBC Worldwide Ltd. The company's activities include programme-...
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