Budget pressures | BBC ramps up savings and digital transformation

(London) Under budgetary pressure from the British state, the BBC is cutting 1,000 jobs and accelerating its digital transformation, with a radical plan that will result in the consolidation of its national and international news channels and the go-to online of several others.

Posted at 11:43 am

Germain Moyeon
France media agency

Already subject to several savings schemes in recent years and an aging audience, the public audiovisual giant, an institution whose influence goes far beyond British borders, has seen its financial outlook darker this year with the Conservative government’s decision to freeze royalty for two years.

The new measures announced by the Foundation in a press release, Thursday, aim to save 500 million pounds annually (800 million), including 200 million pounds, to fill most of the gap that this decision has dug.

The rest should be invested in digital ‘to build the first digital BBC, something really new […] “A force for good for the UK and the world,” Chief Executive Tim Davey said, addressing the task force.

In particular, it was planned to create one BBC News channel for British and global audiences, which are currently separate, “while maintaining the possibility of broadcasting separate content according to events”.

The group will stop broadcasting its children’s channel CBBC (for children from 6 to 12 years old) and its cultural channel BBC 4, the content of which will be transferred to the Internet.

Some foreign language services will also be operated online only, while long-term radio broadcasts will be canceled after consultation with offshore services.

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In total, this would mean a reduction of 1,000 jobs, from the current total of about 22,000 employees.

“existential question”

The group has set itself the goal of reaching 75% of its audience via its iPlayer digital platform.

Investments will be made for content on this platform and content dedicated to BBC Sounds audio content, from which under-performing content will be removed.

The venerable Pip is going through a difficult period due to upheavals in the consumer habits of her audience, with the advent of Netflix or Disney+, and difficult relations with the conservative force recently exacerbated with an appointment to a ministry. Culture: Nadine Doris is openly hostile to public broadcasting.

In January, the latter froze fees (159 pounds, $255) for two years and questioned the long-term viability of this unpopular method of financing, especially in a historical period of inflation.

The conservative force accuses the BBC of covering Brexit in a biased way, with a bias hostile to leaving the EU.

He criticizes it more generally for focusing on the concerns of urban elites rather than the working classes, attacks that resonate favorably on a portion of the conservative electorate and murderous “wokkie” in newspapers and soon ostracizes them. BBC.

The announcement of this turnaround plan coincides with the launch of a public group mission review by Nadine Doris, an extremely conservative author of critically acclaimed novels and one of Boris Johnson’s most loyal ministers during scandals.

This work aims to make the BBC “more impartial, accessible, and better reflective of the diversity of opinions”. It should lead to a legal obligation that 25% of employees come from the working classes and that the majority of programs be produced outside London by 2027.

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On this occasion, the government confirmed that it wants to study the “feasibility” of abolishing fees from 2028.

The group’s management said this week it was open to all options, including a subscription-based model of entertainment or fiction, and its chairman Richard Sharp confirmed that the BBC was facing an “existential question”.

Outside of the BBC, the government recently caused an uproar by announcing plans to privatize Channel 4, which is state-owned but financed by advertising. It reinvests its profits in creativity, through successful innovative programs or series, hence the interest of cultural circles in its fate.

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