BBC to cut entertainment and comedy but plans new Saturday night shows
Comedy, entertainment and factual programming at the BBC will be hit by a £12m spending cut , but the corporation said it would use money saved from dropping The Voice to making homegrown Saturday night shows.
Unveiling full details of savings totalling £150m, the director general, Tony Hall, also said that BBC News would see its budget cut by £5m. The BBC’s online services are facing a £12m reduction.
The cuts are part of £150m in savings announced by Tony Hall earlier this year as the BBC tries to close the “iPlayer loophole” created by people working out they do not need paying for a licence fee if they only watching catchup programming online. The corporation is expected to outline a further £550m in cuts next spring.
BBC director general Tony Hall said: “The BBC has and is doing everything possible to make sure the impact on the public is minimised. Wherever possible we’re targeting savings by creating a simpler, leaner BBC.
“But cuts to budgets for programmes and services are unavoidable. No director general wants to announce reduced spending on services that the public love. This is very tough, but the BBC’s financial position means there is no alternative.”
The Guardian reported on Tuesday that a ”significant chunk” of the savings – £35m – would come from a cut to spending on the rights to show minor sportssuch as athletics and darts.
The BBC is also considering scrapping its Red Button interactive service which allows viewers to choose between different feeds from events such as Glastonbury and Wimbledon and focusing on web-connected TVs.
BBC Online is facing losing more than 5% of its £210m budget, and it may face further reductions as the corporation tries to identify an extra £16m in savings.
In contrast, news is relatively well protected, with the £5m amounting to less than 1% of spending on news across the corporation’s divisions. However, staff will be concerned about the impact of proposed changes in working practices and terms and conditions. Drama will also be protected from the current round of cuts.
The BBC said the next wave of cuts – resulting from the government’s decision to make it pay the cost of over-75s licence fees – were “likely to include broad service and major structural changes to how the BBC works”.
TV budget to be slashed by £12m but BBC says it will use savings from dropping The Voice to fund homegrown alternatives