BBC facing tough choices over cuts

With the licence fee frozen for the next six years, and the added responsibility of funding the World Service due after 2014, the BBC’s director general, Mark Thompson, is facing tough decisions over how best to steer the Corporation to financial stability while still retaining the high quality expected from the public broadcaster.

In an effort to galvanise the troops, he has looked to BBC staff for possible answers to the problems, and now the first selection of ideas have trickled out of the ‘Delivering Quality First’ initiative Thompson launched among the BBC.

21 different proposals have been put forward by staff at the Corporation. While Thompson has resisted saying which ones are likely to see the light of day, he appears to be contemplating the suggestion of cutting overnight programming, which could save around £150m a year according to the director general. To fill the gap, he suggests that HD programming would find its home in the twilight hours, where the “download pressure” of people attempting to watch them via iPlayer could be reduced.

Other ideas being floated include the cutting of BBC2 daytime programming, instead focusing “on a richer originated daytime schedule on BBC1”. One suggestion takes a swipe at the BBC’s politics and current affairs programming – “what would fewer, bigger, better look like?” it asks.  However, Thompson has already said that programmes such as Newsnight will be safe from termination.

The financial outlook for the BBC isn’t overwhelmingly grim, however, with Thompson claiming that “the total amount of money available to the BBC will rise in nominal terms”, via increased households paying the licence fee and a drive to increase revenue in the BBC’s commercial sectors. He also insisted that service “closures are unlikely”.

(Source: MediaGuardian)




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Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the London School of Economics, reacts to news that the UK government forced the Guardian into destroying hard drives that contained information leaked by Edward Snowden.

(Source: POLIS)


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