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Monday, February 6, 2023

BBC to chop output and 1,000 jobs in response to licence payment squeeze

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The BBC has unveiled plans to pare again its output, shutting two tv channels and axing 1,000 jobs in a bid to deal with inflation and the squeeze on its licence payment funding.

The restructuring, which is aimed toward saving £200mn yearly, marks a turning level for the 100-year-old company and is the primary indication of how director-general Tim Davie is trying to reshape the BBC for an period of austerity and “digital-first” programming.

The broadcaster is beneath strain on a number of fronts. Culture secretary Nadine Dorries has imposed a two-year freeze on the licence payment, the BBC’s foremost supply of funding; manufacturing prices are rising; and the BBC’s long- time period financing is beneath assessment.

The company has estimated it must plug a gap of about £1.4bn over the subsequent 5 years, and Davie has sought to make use of the belt-tightening as a approach to speed up the shift of sources to digital channels and away from conventional broadcast and radio shops.

As a part of these efforts, Davie will shut the BBC4 and CBBC tv stations in 2025, successfully making the providers on-line solely. The BBC’s two rolling information channels, serving UK and worldwide audiences, shall be merged.

Davie instructed employees he plans to chop or reallocate about £500mn of annual spending, which quantities to round a tenth of the BBC’s annual income. The broadcaster’s public arm will shed about 1,000 jobs, roughly 6 per cent of its headcount.

Approximately £300mn of the reallocated spending shall be moved from conventional broadcasting and diverted into spending on on-line content material, which may be consumed on demand.

Original programming for tv channels shall be lower by 200 hours, as Davie pushes the BBC in the direction of concentrating its spending on fewer reveals that ship the best influence. Funding for BBC World Service shall be lowered by £30mn a 12 months.

Davie stated: “When I took this job I said that we needed to fight for something important: public service content and services, freely available universally, for the good of all. This fight is intensifying, the stakes are high.”

Separately, the federal government on Thursday launched the deliberate midterm assessment of the BBC’s governance and market influence, which is able to look at the oversight of its editorial requirements, impartiality and the way it’s overseen by the regulator Ofcom.

The 12-month assessment is a part of a number of strands of labor feeding into negotiations over the BBC’s subsequent constitution, which is able to set out its targets and financing from 2028 onwards. This will embrace a assessment of its funding mannequin and the licence payment, which the federal government has signalled it needs to overtake.

Dorries additionally launched a authorized obligation for the BBC to fulfill its dedication to attract 1 / 4 of its staff from low socio-economic backgrounds by 2027. She stated the initiatives would assist the BBC “adapt to a rapidly changing landscape just like all broadcasters are”.

She added: “This review will build on our recent progress to make the BBC more accountable to those who fund it, level up people’s access to the job opportunities it offers and ensure it continues to work in the best interest of the public.”

Source: www.ft.com

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