The economic impact of the BBC’s move to Salford a decade ago is revealed in a report from professional services firm KPMG.

Underlining the strength of the digital, creative and media sector in Greater Manchester, it highlights how the BBC, through its presence and investment, played a role in cultivating Salford as a “creative and digital cluster” over the last decade.

Supporting the continued growth of the digital and creative sector is a priority within the Economic Vision for Greater Manchester. Digital, Creative and Media was identified as a global frontier sector strength in the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy.

The KPMG report: An Assessment of the Economic Impact of the BBC (available here) was conducted before the April 2021 publication of The BBC Across the UK, which included plans to expand the BBC workforce in Salford beyond the 3,500 current staff and shift new services to MediaCityUK.

It found that:

The largest share of the BBC’s economic contribution outside of London is generated in the North West of England (31% of the BBC’s direct GVA and 19% of its total GVA), reflecting the BBC’s significant activities in Salford. The BBC’s total GVA in the North West of £453m in 2019/20 accounted for approximately 0.2% of the region’s GVA in 2019.

MediaCityUK is a prime example of the “network and cluster spillovers” generated by the BBC through its role in creating local specialist clusters of creative and digital talent.

Employment in the creative and digital sector in Salford has since grown by 142%, from 6,310 employees in 2010 to 15,275 employees in 2019, compared to growth of 26% in these sectors across Great Britain over the same period. The BBC directly accounted for 34% of this growth, with the remainder being in the wider creative and digital sector, at least in part driven by wider firms clustering around the BBC in MediaCityUK and benefitting from BBC spending with them.

This is reflected in the number of digital or creative businesses in Salford which has grown by 70% since 2010, from 565 to 955, compared to growth of 44% in these sectors in the UK as a whole.

The latest BBC data for 2019/20 shows that the BBC now supports 3,048 direct FTE jobs in Salford and 159 indirect FTEs in Salford through supply chain expenditure.

The report suggests a direct link between the BBC’s move to Salford and the relocation of other creative and digital businesses, including SIS, ITV, Ericsson, AJ Bell, Kelloggs and TalkTalk. Additionally, the University of Salford opened and new research space at MediaCityUK.

KPMG’s report was drawn from a quantified assessment of the BBC’s contribution to the UK economy in terms of GVA and a “largely qualitative” assessment of the role of the BBC in supporting the growth of the creative and digital sector, as well as the wider UK economy.

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KPMG Report: MediaCityUK