BBC Reports Pay Increases for Three Top Programming Executives

New BBC Boss

George Entwistle is the new big man at Britain’s Grey Lady, known lovingly as the Beeb. The former BBC journalism trainee nabbed the top job at the BBC this week, becoming the BBC’s 15th director general. the country's highest-profile TV industry job. Analysts described the news veteran as a “safe pair of hands” for the British broadcaster, but his lack of experience in the digital media business raised some concerns.

The U.K. public broadcaster says first-quarter expenses rose slightly compared to the year-ago period, but declined over the final quarter of 2011.


LONDON - First-quarter spending by senior BBC executives rose slightly compared with the year-ago period, but was down from the first quarter.

A latest report from the public broadcaster also showed pay increases for three key programming executives.

Data contained in a quarterly report late this week compiles expenses for all top BBC managers who earn more than £150,000 ($236,000).

"Expenses and central bookings are down 4 percent on last quarter, with particular savings on hotels, taxis and hospitality, and down 11 percent since we first started publishing in 2009," the BBC said in a statement.

But for the three months ended March, senior BBC executives spent £166,899 ($262,000), up 2 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The report also listed salaries as of mid-year.

The Guardian calculated that three content executives had seen the biggest compensation gains. Katie Taylor, the BBC's head of entertainment, saw her compensation increase by 12 percent to £187,800 ($295,000), with her basic salary rising from £160,000 to £180,000 (283,000).

Head of comedy Mark Freeland recorded an 8.5 percent increase to £207,800 ($326,000). And Nick Brown, director of drama productions, recorded an increase to £217,800 ($342,000).

"These staff have received pay rises as a result of taking on increased responsibility and are now responsible for their genres across the whole of the U.K.," a spokeswoman told the Guardian.

Outgoing director general Mark Thompson, who was this week named the new CEO of the New York Times Co., got a salary of £613,000 ($963,000) and total remuneration of £622,000 ($977,000), according to the BBC report.

His expenses included a flight to and from New York that cost more than £3,200 ($5,000).

The BBC spokeswoman told the Guardianthat Thompson did not meet any executives from the New York Times or any affiliates or partners about the CEO post while on the New York business trip in February. "This trip had a full itinerary and was to attend BBC and BBC Worldwide related meetings," she said. "There have been no occasions when BBC time or money has been used in the process of him finding a new role."