BBC warns it faces ‘difficult choices’ on programming to find more savings

August Graham, PA City Reporter

The BBC has warned that it might need to make “difficult choices” that impact its programmes and services if the corporation is forced to tighten its belt further.

A report revealed that the broadcaster has seen a 30% real-term reduction in its income in the last decade.

At the same time, it has dealt with increased competition from new challengers to the old guard.

“The BBC has made big changes to ensure we provide outstanding value. We are smarter spenders and savers and more efficient than ever before, but there is more to do,” said director-general Tim Davie.

“The financial challenges and competition we face continue to evolve and while we have demonstrated we can deliver, I want us to adapt and reform further to safeguard the outstanding programmes and services that our audiences love for the future.”

The report revealed that the corporation’s income had dropped heavily, in part because of a five-year freeze on licence fee increases which was introduced in 2010.

Meanwhile it has been forced to fund more things, including taking over the funding of the World Service and Welsh language TV broadcaster S4C, which were both formerly financed by central Government.

The BBC’s savings programme is on course to deliver £951 million worth of savings by the end of March next year, the report said.

The corporation said that so far it had managed to fund cuts by becoming more efficient, but added that this might be difficult going forward.

“However, given the BBC’s last ten years of work to deliver significant gains in productivity, the report identifies that further savings will involve difficult choices that will impact programmes and service,” a statement from the broadcaster said.

The report added: “As evidenced in this report, additional savings through productivity gains are becoming increasingly difficult and scope savings are now the predominant form of savings for the BBC.

“In order for the BBC to deliver its public service commitments, support the creative industries and continue to invest in high-quality, world-class, distinctive content for UK audiences, it will have to do more with less income to spend on programmes and services.”

The report further found that the cost of each hour of BBC broadcasting for UK audiences dropped from 7.6p to 6.6p over the last decade.

This is broken down to 9p for each hour of TV a household watches, and 3p for its radio.

This compares to 15p for subscription-based video-on-demand services, and more than 50p for pay TV.

From Our Partners