BBC set to cut 2,000 jobs by 2017

 

Director general Mark Thompson gave the details to the BBC's media correspondent, Torin Douglas

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The BBC is planning to cut 2,000 jobs and radically change programming in order to cut 20% from its budget over the next five years.

No channels will close. Some money will be reinvested in new programmes.

All new daytime programming will shift to BBC One, with BBC Two broadcasting news and repeats of peak-time shows.

Technicians' union Bectu accused the corporation's director general Mark Thompson of "destroying jobs and destroying the BBC".

Thompson unveiled details of the cuts - branded Delivering Quality First (DQF) - in an address to staff on Thursday morning.

Thompson said the changes would lead to "a smaller, radically reshaped BBC".

As well as the loss of 2,000 posts across the BBC over the next five years, another 1,000 staff will relocate from London to Salford. BBC Three will move to Salford in 2016.

Analysis

The BBC says this will be the most far-reaching transformation in its history, changing how - and where - it operates.

Most of the savings are due to come from finding cheaper ways of working, through new technology, job cuts and new terms and conditions for BBC staff.

But with no TV channel or radio station facing closure, few expect licence-fee payers to be marching on Broadcasting House.

BBC One, which is having its overall budget cut by 3%, will see a reduction in entertainment programmes "which have a lower impact", Thompson said.

There will be fewer chat shows and panel shows on BBC Two, and digital channels BBC Three and Four will become feeder channels for BBC One and Two respectively.

Other key points include:

  • Small reduction of 3% in BBC One's budget but money to be reinvested on comedy and drama.
  • Extra investment in children's channels to be protected.
  • More funding for factual programming on BBC One and BBC Four.
  • BBC Two's daytime schedule to feature international news and current affairs at lunchtime, with repeats of mainly factual programmes at other times.
  • Radio 4's underlying programme budget to be unaffected.
  • More money to "protect and improve" quality of Proms coverage.
  • The BBC HD channel will close and be replaced with a single version of BBC Two in high definition.
  • Red button services will also be reduced after the Olympics.

Content sharing

The BBC's David Sillito spoke to media commentator Steve Hewlett and Gerry Morrissey from Bectu

There will be a 15% reduction in the BBC's sports rights budget. This includes the decision earlier this year to share the rights for Formula One with BSkyB.

The BBC said that the decision to share F1 rights saved more cash than would have been saved by shutting one of its smaller TV channels.

In local radio, there will be more sharing of content across regions.

Original programming across the BBC's main networks will be reduced, such as comedy on Radio 2 and Radio 5 live, as well as fewer lunchtime concerts on Radio 3.

Radio drama will be reduced on Radios 3 and 4. Radio 4's comedy output is unaffected.

Separate news bulletins will end on Radio 1Xtra (outside breakfast) which will take Radio 1's news output. Radio 3 will use shorter versions of Radio 4 bulletins.

Where the savings will come from

How the BBC proposes to make savings

* Remaining funds will be met from current efficiency savings

There will be reductions in medium-wave transmissions for local radio in England where coverage replicates FM. There will also be no reinvestment in long wave, which will lead to the end of Radio 4 on LW in the long term.

The BBC News Channel will focus on breaking news, with less coverage of arts, culture and science. Material from the nations and English regions will be repeated during times of lower demand.

Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, said there would be up to 800 post closures in news. That would be offset by the creation of new posts, meaning a total reduction in staff of between 550 and 650.

There are no major changes proposed for CBBC and CBeebies. After digital switchover, children's programmes will be removed from BBC One's afternoon schedule and BBC Two's morning slots.

Unions reacted angrily to news of the job cuts. Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of the technicians' union Bectu, said the BBC's proposals should have been called "destroying quality first".

The National Union of Journalists added "the BBC will not be the same organisation if these cuts go ahead".

Thompson said he hoped a proportion of staff facing job losses could be "retrained and redeployed".

Reinvestment

The proposals are the result of a nine-month staff consultation.

In January, Thompson said the BBC faced the challenge of finding 20% savings over the four years to April 2017.

This figure incorporates the 16% drop in revenue from the licence fee, and an attempt to claw back 4% of current expenditure to re-invest in new content and digital developments.

How the licence fee is spent

How the licence fee was spent in 2010-11

Speaking ahead of Thompson, BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten explained how the trust will consult licence fee payers on the plans. The public will have until the end of the year to respond.

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: "We welcome that the BBC is thinking hard about what it does and where it should focus in future.

"We are committed to an independent, strong and successful BBC that is the cornerstone of British broadcasting

In 2010's government spending review, the BBC licence fee was frozen at £145.50 until 2016-17.

That licence agreement brought with it new financial obligations, including the World Service, which is currently funded by the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

This funding comes to an end in April 2014 as the BBC World Service transfers to television licence fee funding.

Thompson concluded his address on Thursday warning that the BBC could not sustain a further reduction in licence fee funding, after a decade of cuts.

"I don't think we could do this again," he told staff.

"Another real terms cut in the licence fee would lead to a loss of services, or potentially a diminution of quality, or both."

 

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  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 476.

    If you are going to start doing more repeats can I pleed you to repeat "Operation Good Guys" one of the funniest fly-on-the wall comedy series I have ever watched. Also any chance of filling the sci fi void that is on TV at the moment and putting Star Trek back on? Used to be on 6pm on BBC 2. Miss that so much.

  • rate this
    +44

    Comment number 351.

    Upon returning from overseas after 20 years, I looked forward watching the BBC and quality TV. A big miss while I was away. However, I found it was a disappointing experience. A multitude of 'show-off' graphics between programmes and numerous 'talking heads' on any news programme. Why do we need someone to be standing live outside a door, or house, related to the news article?

  • rate this
    +20

    Comment number 223.

    I work in the broadcast industry and have to agree with a lot of comments on here. The Beeb like lots of other public sector areas is bloated with middle management and inefficiency. Simply why not cut sport all together. There is very little on now and with F1 shifting half its coverage there will be even less. It'll stop Gary Lineker been paid a fortune to host the smugness that is M.O.T.D

  • rate this
    +58

    Comment number 177.

    The licence fee should never have been frozen. I don't believe anyone could not have afforded in increase in line with inflation.Compare what you get and what you pay to Sky subscription charges and the TV licence is the best value in home entertainment.

    Britain has the best TV in the world. I'm sure the BBC has many overpaid managers whom no-one would miss but don't cut what makes the BBC great.

  • rate this
    -32

    Comment number 174.

    I think it's disgraceful that the BBC thinks it's newsworthy to anounce how much money it's spending when the licence fee itself is probably one of the most unfair taxes on poor housholds, and that is NEVER reported.

 

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