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The Business of Bake Off

It has been hard to avoid the furore surrounding the new home for The Great British Bake Off this week after it was announced that the hit show will move from the BBC to Channel 4 after this series.

The reasons for the change in direction came from the production company, who developed the idea for the show after visiting the home-made cake tent at a village show, selling the programme after their contract with the BBC came to an end.

Understandably the BBC were keen to renew the contract and keep the show however they were out-bid by Channel 4 after they offered a reported sum of £75 million for a 3 year contract.

Channel 4 have said they are keen to keep the format as close to the original as possible but it is unlikely that this is possible. We already know about changes that they perhaps didn’t account for  - they no-doubt assumed that by buying the show the hosts, Mel and Sue plus the veteran judges Paul and Mary would  move over to Channel 4 too.

So, other than it changing channels (and needing new presenters), what is the ‘business’ around this story? Why are Channel 4 hosting the Great British Bake Off? 

Channel 4 is a publicly funded broadcaster and this means that any profit they make from a television programme gets reinvested into the channel which broadly means that viewers should benefit from better quality programmes in the future.

The advertising opportunities available on Channel 4 are broad. The new contract allows there to be spin off show opportunities and there will be less red-tape surrounding branded products (there’s a rumour that viewers complained after a Smeg fridge was visible during last years’ show).

The move from the point of view of Channel 4 is a sound business decision.

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