Future plans include BFI Library on Stephen Street being closed and moved into former Gallery space at BFI Southbank.
The British Film Institute (BFI) has today unveiled new measures including “an ambitious digital modernisation strategy.”
These are the first new plans announced by the BFI since it became the UK government’s lead body for film (announced Nov 29) after the abolishment of the UK Film Council.
The key aims of the new plans are to deliver its services more efficiently, to grow income, and to increase reach to UK and international audiences.
The BFI will have about 37 redundancies. These changes come with a 15% cut of the BFI’s Grant In Aid Funding over the next four years, as well as escalating pension costs at the organisation.
The BFI Library, currently at the office on Stephen Street, will move to the BFI Southbank to be closer to audiences and the BFI Mediatheque. The plan put forward will also close the Gallery at BFI Southbank to make room for the Library.
As the existing library closes, the BFI National Archive in Berkhamsted will create a bespoke facility for dedicated researchers.
Also a digital-on-demand service to offer the Collections at the BFI Southbank will be created, and the plan is to offer similar services to other BFI Mediatheques in the regions eventually.
One central part of the new strategy is to continue to invest in digital improvements to provide greater public access to the BFI and its collections and programmes. That will include improvements to infrastructure as well as “investing in new skills.”
In terms of revenue, the BFI said it will launch a new membership drive, with ads both onscreen an online, plus a sponsorship and fundraising campaign. As for expenditures, the BFI said it will also conduct “a stringent review of procurement processes to achieve economies; reducing overheads by making savings in support costs.”
Also the BFI said it was build new business opportunities through new digital business models, as well as through international partnerships (for example, the multi-year partnership with American Express announced this summer.)
The proposed changes also include creating a new post of Director of BFI Public Programmes, who will lead a team of programmers across cinemas, festivals, distribution, digital and print. “The aim there is to make the programme more joined up and the intention is for that new post to combine two existing roles,” noted a BFI spokesman.
Amanda Nevill, Director of the BFI, said in a statement: “It is imperative the BFI builds on its successes and remains commercially astute in this tough new environment. We have an incredible opportunity in the months and years ahead to create something very special for film in the UK and these proposals are both bold and necessary.”
If approved during a staff consultation, the proposals will take effect from late March 2011. There will be a voluntary redundancy scheme launched.
As part of the transition, other structural changes could follow in coming months. Early in the New Year, the BFI will advertise for its new Board members, also an outline timetable for the transition will be announced then.