BBC to Cut More Than 1,000 Jobs, Become "Simpler, Leaner"

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The U.K. public broadcaster remains under pressure to reduce its costs amid funding shortfalls.

The BBC on Thursday unveiled its latest round of job cuts, saying it will reduce more than 1,000 positions.

Director general Tony Hall unveiled the staff reductions amid news of a $235 million (£150 million) per year shortfall in funding as British viewers increasingly use loopholes to avoid paying the license fee that taxpayers are paying to help fund the public broadcaster. Hall said that has affected the BBC more and more quickly than previously forecast.

The news also comes amid political pressure on the BBC from David Cameron's Conservative government. A paper on the future of the BBC is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

The BBC cuts are expected to also affect senior and middle management. The broadcaster has a workforce of about 18,000.

In a statement, the BBC said Hall was unveiling to staff the "changes to the structure and organization of the BBC that will make it simpler, leaner and more effective for the future."

In recent years, the BBC has announced various savings initiatives that have focused on administration and property costs, pay and headcount restraint, "plus tough decisions like more daytime repeats and shared sports rights," it said. "A new independent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers being published today ranks the BBC among the most efficient organizations in the public and regulated private sectors. Overhead costs are approximately 8 percent of total costs and will fall to 7 percent, well below both the public sector average of 11.2 percent and the regulated industry average of 8.8 percent."

But the BBC added, "Despite the progress already made, and the realities of the license fee being frozen for seven years, a new financial challenge means additional savings must now be found."

Hall said: "A simpler, leaner, BBC is the right thing to do and it can also help us meet the financial challenges we face. We’ve already significantly cut the costs of running the BBC, but in times of very tough choices we need to focus on what really matters — delivering outstanding programs and content for all our audiences."

Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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