Unscripted

Factual ‘most impacted’ as BBC cuts 300 jobs

The BBC is slashing 300 production jobs at BBC Studios as the UK pubcaster prepares to open up commissions to external producers. The cuts effect staffers working across entertainment, factual, drama, ...
October 13, 2016

The BBC is slashing 300 production jobs at BBC Studios as the UK pubcaster prepares to open up commissions to external producers.

The cuts effect staffers working across entertainment, factual, drama, comedy, music and events genres, but factual is “most impacted,” a spokesperson confirmed to realscreen.

BBC Studios will continue to operate in seven bases across the UK and core teams working in specialist areas will be protected. In all, the cuts amount to 15% of the production division’s roughly 1,900 staffers.

In a statement, the corporation said the losses will mean staff will be brought in for fixed periods to work on specific shows, while other staff will be retained to work on year-round programming.

“BBC Studios will move further towards a flexible model, more in line with the wider industry,” the statement reads. “These proposals are part of a wider plan to make the BBC simpler, leaner and more adaptable to meet the challenges of the future – and no part of the organization has been immune.”

Created in April, BBC Studios houses the majority of the pubcaster’s in-house production capabilities and will be spun off into a wholly owned commercial subsidy next April (pending approval by governing body BBC Trust).

As part of wider reforms, the BBC is removing the guarantee that 50% of all its programming must be made in-house and, in return, BBC Studios will be able to produce for other networks as well as the BBC.

The first BBC titles being made available to outside producers are the long-running religion series Songs of Praise, sports quiz show A Question of Sport, and drama Holby City.

“A strong, creative and competitive BBC Studios is crucial to maintaining the BBC’s role as one of the world’s great program makers,” said BBC Studios director Mark Linsey. “And we are committed to delivering the best content in all our genres. These plans will ensure we can compete successfully in the future.”

The pubcaster has estimated that BBC Studios would have total revenues of about £400 million (US$488 million), and would receive a share of just under 15% of total UK commissioning spend.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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