Survey: public want to know BBC talent pay

64% want to know what the highest-paid talent is paid

LONDON -- BBC bosses have again come under pressure to reveal details of talent payments to stars, this time from the pubcaster's own journalists.

A survey for BBC2 flagship news show "Newsnight" has found that 64% of viewers wanted to know what the highest-paid talent was paid, while 59% of a 1,000-strong poll said all BBC salaries should be made public.

The BBC recently took the unprecedented step of revealing the salaries and expenses of its top hundred or so executives. But the pubcaster has so far resisted pressure from politicians to reveal details of its payments to on-screen talent, citing "commercial confidentiality."

But payments such as the estimated £6 million ($9.8 million) a year payment to TV and radio star Jonathan Ross have prompted calls for more disclosure.

Speaking at a media conference in London Friday (Nov. 27), BBC director general Mark Thompson reiterated his view that clarity would only be given on executive salaries, pointing out that senior execs could earn far more in the commercial sector than with the pubcaster.

"I earn significantly less than what I earned at Channel 4, and significantly less than the number two person at Channel 4 right now," Thompson told a Voice of the Listener and Viewer conference in central London.

"Most reporters' and technicians' salaries are very similar to what they could earn outside," he said.
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