Outgoing BBC Trust Chairman Urges BBC to Do 'Fewer Things Better'

Open letter prompts speculation that digital youth channel BBC3 and digital arts channel BBC4 could be shut down.

 

LONDON -- Outgoing BBC Trust chairman Michael Lyons has called on the pubcaster to cut back on services and do "fewer things better," in order to meet its spending constraints.

His comments come as BBC director general Mark Thompson prepares to announce a series of job cuts and cuts to services in order to deliver £300 million ($471.2 million) of savings in the next 12 months.

In an open letter to BBC director general Mark Thompson that was published, Wednesday, Lyons said that the BBC should cut areas where "the BBC's public value is lower," and should refocus spending on key areas like BBC1, BBC2 and core radio services. He has called for a public consultation on the matter so that viewers can be involved.

His letter has prompted speculation that digital youth channel BBC3 and digital arts channel BBC4 could be shut down.

Lyons -- who leaves the BBC in the spring -- has called for more back office savings, but has said that direct cuts to output will also be needed.

"We do not expect that such efficiencies will fully meet the funding gap alone and some hard choices about content and services may need to be made as part of this process. Because such proposals will impact directly on output, we would ask you to provide them in the form of a range of options as well as recommendations which provide the Trust the scope for a meaningful consultation with the public later this year."

Under a new financial settlement with the government announced last year, the BBC has revenues frozen over the next four years but must make do with 16% less cash overall.

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