The BBC has confirmed plans that were leaked last week to make substantial cuts in certain areas – including online, digital radio and in acquisitions. Its ‘size and scope’ review, called ‘Putting Quality First’, calls for a cap of 2.5% of the license fee for spending on overseas acquisitions, as well as cutting BBC Online by half and reducing its staffing by 25%. Digital radio services will also be affected, with the axing of new music station 6 Music and the Asian Network, and also due to be cut are teen TV brands Switch and Blast. Critics of the cuts say they are politically motivated, as the BBC had come under sharp criticism from various political quarters over the past year regarding issues of size and scope. Still, the BBC maintains that the cuts will allow for the redistribution of £600 million which can benefit programming. ‘We will refocus license fee investment around five clear priorities: the best journalism; inspiring knowledge, music and culture; ambitious UK drama and comedy; outstanding children’s content; and events that bring communities and the nation together,’ said BBC director general Mark Thompson in a statement. After a 12-week period of consultation, the BBC Trust is expected to have its final strategy set by autumn. For more on the ‘Putting Quality First’ report from the BBC, click here.
- RS West ’18