TV takes big hit as BBC pared to the bone by cost-cutting
Editor ©RapidTVNews | 07-10-2011 Theramifications for BBC of the licence fee settlement agreed with the UK Government in 2010 are now clear: 2,000 job cuts and huge cut backs to TV services.
According to a set of proposals, Delivering Quality First, PDF, outlining prospective changes to the services the Corporation provides and the way it operates published by the BBC Trust, the cash-strapped corporation is to make savings of around £670 million a year by 2016/17, around 16% of current licence fee income.
The proposals follow which sees the licence fee frozen to 2017, and the BBC assuming new funding responsibilities, including for the World Service, S4C, BBC Monitoring and local TV and broadband.
The Trust believes that given such restrictions its approach will prioritise and protect the services and content that deliver the most value to audiences.it claims that in its proposals it has looked at each individual service and its value within the portfolio, rather than simply cut whole services or giving each service the same percentage savings target.
In real terms this will mean that BBC One will screen all new general daytime programme while BBC 2 will offer international news and current affairs programmes at lunchtime but for the rest of the in the daytime screen repeats apart of mainly factual programmes, including science, history, natural history and arts, as well as live sport. Hitherto digital darlings BBC Three and BBC Four will now play supporting roles to the two bigger channels. The specialist HD channel will be replaced by an HD version of BBC Two to broadcast alongside the existing BBC One HD channel.
Yet despite the general axe swinging, the VBBC was keen to point out its commitment to digital TV assuring that even though it would continue with its previously announced plans to reduce by a quarter BBC Online's budget it would maintain some reinvestment in future digital development. Red Button transmissions will be reduced to make the service consistent across all digital TV platforms but the BBC stressed its commitment to connected TV.
Explaining the need to make such cuts, Lord Patten, Chairman of the BBC Trust, said: "The BBC is far from perfect, but it is a great institution and, at its best, a great broadcaster. We have a tough and challenging new licence fee settlement, but it should still be possible to run an outstanding broadcaster on £3.5 billion a year.
"The Trust's view has been clear from the start of this process - the BBC must look to run itself as efficiently as possible before we consider cutting services. Over half of the savings announced today will come from changes to operations, but there will need to be some changes to services, and we now need to test BBC management's proposals for this."