Full details of BBC budget cuts announced

The BBC has announced a new raft of proposals to save money and still continue to deliver high quality content.

After the license fee was frozen at £145.50 a year until April 2017 the BBC director general, Mark Thompson, launched a wide-ranging consultation to see how the corporation can better manage income and expenditure. The ‘Delivering Quality First’ report outlined four main areas for new savings; Productivity Savings, Content Scope Reductions, Added Commercial Income and Working Capital Savings.

BBC Two will no longer have a daytime budget and will mainly air repeat programming, international news and current affairs and some live sports events. New daytime programming will be for BBC One daytime only. There were fears that the digital channels, BBC Three and BBC Four, would be axed. However the proposals say that that programming from the channels should feature on and compliment BBC One and BBC Two. BBC HD channel will become BBC Two HD, sitting alongside BBC One HD. There are also plans to launch BBC One HD specific to the nations in the UK.

Peak time programming on BBC One and BBC Two won’t be affected, but there will be reductions in entertainment programming and acquisitions. It is likely that the BBC will cut back acquiring the rights to foreign programming and films. BBC News Channel will focus more on breaking news, air more local news reports and cut back on news staff. CBBC and CBeebies are unaffected, although the report says children’s programming on the main channels will be restricted to the children’s channels only. BBC Sport has to cut its budget by 15%, which has already taken into account the decision to not have exclusive Formula One coverage rights, instead they will share with Sky Sports next year.

The changes to radio will be more focused on news and content sharing. 1Xtra and Radio 1, Radio 2 and 6 Music and Radio 3 and 4 will begin to share news bulletins. BBC Local radio stations will be encouraged to share programming in off peak hours with interest going into peak times only. BBC Asian Network, which faced closure now has to make a 34% reduction in its content spend. Medium Wave and Long Wave frequencies will close in areas where FM signal is good enough.

Unions are unhappy that the proposals mean job cuts. The BBC announced that 2,000 jobs are to go by 2017 although they aim to offset some of this by redeployment and retraining of staff. The BBC’s new Salford location will continue to be seen as the ‘future’ for the BBC, as BBC Three will move onto the complex in 2016. BBC Television Centre is already being reduced ready for a complete move ‘up north’. Other BBC offices in the vicinity of White City, West London will also be moved. BBC News operations will be moving to BBC Broadcasting House once refurbishment is complete.