Tuesday, June 30, 2009

BBC to tighten programme costs and save £1.9 bn

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is targeting a five per cent net reduction in programme prices each year for the next five years, prompting a tightening of the belt to tide over the harsh economic climate.

Across the BBC, the plan is to make savings of £1.9 billion in this Licence Fee period. BBC DG Mark Thompson revealed the plans while speaking on 'Accountability In A Time Of Change' at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy Annual Conference in Manchester.

"This is an environment where pay restraint at every level must make sense. In this year's pay round, the people with us earning below £60,000 got a flat rate increase of £450 and those earning £60,000 will not have any general increase at all. We have suspended all bonuses across the organisation."

Thompson reiterated that the UK pubcaster will protect programmes and services over the next few difficult years. "As far as we can, we will also protect jobs and so also our investment in independent production. We can only do those things because we began the difficult process of reform nearly five years ago. And even so, the economics are tight."

Thompson pointed out that all broadcasters including relatively well-funded parts of the public sector like the BBC face "some difficult years." The wider downturn and the level of public indebtedness will inevitably colour the entire climate for public spending decisions, he added.


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