BBC reveals plans for a digital hub in Newcastle

BBC studio
BBC building

The BBC has plans to open a technology hub in Newcastle as part of a wider strategy to create more jobs outside of London.

The broadcaster's director-general Tony Hall said the new North-East hub will help work on the technology that underpins the iPlayer and BBC Sound services.

The corporation is aiming to have two-thirds of its staff outside of London by 2027 and also announced 150 new roles in Bristol and promised more "digital posts" in Salford.

Hall said that creating more jobs outside of London would help to "promote inclusion" and "diversity of thinking". Currently, 48% of its workforce is based in the capital, with 34% in various places around England; the remaining 18% of BBC staff are based in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

"Our centres have become magnets for ideas and talent, new jobs and investment," Hall told the BBC. "That's really good news. But I know we can go further. We can do so much more for this country - and we're going to - starting this year."

He added that Newcastle is a city looking for "fresh ideas, collaboration and innovation" and said the proposed tech hub would aim to deliver "a new generation of software engineers, designers, product developers and data scientists in the north-east of England".

While London remains the major technology destination for the UK, a number of cities around the country have made significant progress in building digital hubs. A recent report based on figures from the Office for National Statistics suggested that Bristol was the best area to launch a startup, while areas like Manchester and Cambridge have produced a number of Unicorns - company's that reach a value of $1 billion.

While not quite at that level, Newcastle is said to be the fastest-growing tech hub outside of the capital and has become a hotbed for digital and fintech companies in recent years.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognise him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.