27/01/2011

BBC World Service Cuts International Output

BBC World Service has released details of its response to a cut to its Grant-in-Aid funding from the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office - with fewer language services as a result.

BBC World Service is to carry out a fundamental restructure in order to meet the 16% savings target required by the Government's Spending Review of 20 October last year.

To ensure the target is achieved and other unavoidable cost increases are met BBC World Service is announcing cash savings of 20% over the next three years.

This amounts to an annual saving of £46m by April 2014, when Grant-in-Aid funding comes to an end as BBC World Service transfers to television licence fee funding, agreed as part of the domestic BBC's licence fee settlement announced on the same day.

In the first year, starting in April 2011, the international broadcaster will be making savings of £19m on this year's operating expenditure of £236.7m (2010/11).

The changes include five full language service closures and the end of radio programmes in seven languages, focusing those services on online and new media content and distribution and a phased reduction from most short wave and medium wave distribution of remaining radio services.

BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks said: "This is a painful day for BBC World Service and the 180 million people around the world who rely on the BBC's global news services every week.

"We are making cuts in services that we would rather not be making. But the scale of the cut in BBC World Service's Grant-in-Aid funding is such that we couldn't cope with this by efficiencies alone.

"What won't change is the BBC's aim to continue to be the world's best known and most trusted provider of high quality impartial and editorially independent international news. We will continue to bring the BBC's expertise, perspectives and content to the largest worldwide audience, which will reflect well on Britain and its people," he said.

BBC World Service also plans spending reductions and efficiencies across the board, targeted in particular in support areas where there will be average cuts of 33%.

BBC World Service also expects to generate additional savings from the new ways of working after the move to the BBC's London headquarters at Broadcasting House in 2012, and also by the transfer of BBC World Service to television licence fee funding in April 2014.

Under these proposals 480 posts are expected to close over the next year.

By the time the BBC World Service moves in to the licence fee in 2014/15 we anticipate the number of proposed closures to reach 650.

Some of these closures may be offset by new posts being created during this period.

It is expected that audiences will fall by more than 30 million from the current weekly audience of 180 million as a result of the changes this year.

The changes have been approved by the BBC Trust, the BBC Executive and, in relation to closure of services, The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague, as he is required to do under the terms of the BBC's agreement with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

(BMcC/GK)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

07 September 2015
BBC Unveils Proposals For Its Future
The BBC has outlined its plans to become "more open and more distinctive" in the future. The proposals are said to herald "a fundamental change of approach for the Corporation", and will reveal how the broadcasters' services will adapt and change in order to meet audience needs for the next decade.
16 March 2012
BBC To Move Forward With Paid Download Service
The BBC's director of archive content Roly Keating has said viewers are “very comfortable” with the corporations plans to launch an iTunes-style download service.
28 January 2008
BBC Trust Approve Gaelic Digital Service
The BBC Trust’s decision to approve proposals for a Gaelic Digital Service has been welcomed by Gaelic Media Service (GMS) and BBC Scotland. GMS and BBC Scotland will now begin the process of implementing their joint plans for the launch of the new service.
16 September 2011
BBC Agreement Overhauled
The National Audit Office (NAO) will now have the right to choose which areas of the BBC it investigates, under new value-for-money arrangements published today.
29 April 2004
More peak time arts, current affairs and documentaries, say BBC
The BBC has promised to air more arts, current affairs and documentaries during peak time viewing. Publishing the Corporation's 'Statements of Programme Policy for 2004/2005' the BBC has underscored a commitment to reduce 'make-over' drama programmes.
27 November 2003
Bectu issues slams sale of BBC Technology
The BBC are to sell their wholly-owned commercial subsidiary BBC Technology, subject to final approval by DCMS Secretary of State Tessa Jowell.
21 June 2004
BBC World Service on top with 146m global audience
BBC World Service remains the world's leading international radio broadcaster with a weekly global audience estimate of 146 million, according to new audience figures released today. The figures equate to at least 50% more listeners than any comparable international radio broadcaster.
22 July 2004
BBC's Richard Sambrook takes up new post
Richard Sambrook, the man who headed BBC news when Andrew Gilligan broadcast his now notorious report claiming the government probably knew its '45-minute claim' over Iraq's WMDs was wrong, has moved to a new post.
10 June 2011
BBC 'Serves An Ace' At Wimbledon In 3D
The BBC has announced that it will broadcast live 3D coverage to homes across the UK for the first time, when it broadcasts the men's and ladies' finals of the 2011 Wimbledon Championships via the BBC's HD Channel.
27 May 2011
Trust Launches Review Of BBC News Channel And BBC Parliament
The BBC Trust has launched its service review of BBC Parliament and BBC News Channel, as part of its rolling programme of service reviews. The review will look at the current performance of BBC Parliament and the News Channel - including the stations' quality, distinctiveness and value for money - and the BBC's future plans for the services.
05 July 2004
Government publishes BBC Online review
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has given the BBC just under four months to redefine the remit for its online services, following the publication today of the findings of a major independent review. Tessa Jowell said she found Philip Graf's review into BBC Online "authoritative and constructive".
15 March 2010
Virgin Jobs Landing In Swansea
Recruitment is to begin shortly as Virgin Atlantic airline creates more than 200 jobs over the next two years at a new customer service centre in Wales. The company says it plans to open the new centre at Alexandra House in Swansea by September and will start recruiting later this month.
05 November 2010
Cuts Put BBC World Service Jobs At Risk
The funding cuts at BBC World Service will jeopardise more than 300 jobs, the Director of BBC Global News has warned.
04 May 2010
BBC World Service Faces 'Terminal' Cuts
The BBC World Service could lose up to a quarter of its budget, it has been revealed. Executives are preparing for cuts of 18%-25% after Foreign Office officials indicated its £272m annual budget would be reduced from April next year. A world Service source told the Sunday Times that the 25% cut would be 'terminal'.
15 December 2009
BBC Website To Offer 'Open House'
Newspapers could be facing an online revolution as the BBC is planning to open up its website on www.bbc.co.uk to other news organisation. The broadcaster's online news section may soon allow its own (free) users to see the major stories covered by the UK newspaper sites.