BBC to axe 1,000 jobs as viewers move online

The BBC is making big changes to its structure, cutting more than 1,000 jobs and stripping out layers of management, because of a £150 million shortfall in its licence fee income as more people watch programmes online.
Directorgeneral Tony Hall is aiming to deliver 'a simpler, leaner BBC'. Picture: GettyDirectorgeneral Tony Hall is aiming to deliver 'a simpler, leaner BBC'. Picture: Getty
Directorgeneral Tony Hall is aiming to deliver 'a simpler, leaner BBC'. Picture: Getty

Director-general Tony Hall told staff increasing numbers of viewers were not watching live television so did not need to pay the licence fee.

The cuts were announced as industry regulator Ofcom revealed that only half of young people’s viewing time was spent watching live TV, with many preferring online services, despite the value placed on public service broadcasters.

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The BBC is planning to cut three layers of management, while some of its divisions will be reduced. The jobs are mainly going in professional and support services, amid moves to cut back on a duplication of roles.

Lord 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 programmes and content for all our audiences.”

The BBC said the changes to the structure and organisation would make it “simpler, leaner and more effective”.

The corporation has already taken measures to save £1.5 billion a year by 2017, mainly through cutting administration and property costs, pay and jobs, as well as shared sports rights. But a BBC statement said: “Despite the progress already made, and the realities of the licence fee being frozen for seven years, a new financial challenge means additional savings must now be found.

“The licence fee income in 2016-17 is now forecast to be £150 million less than it was expected to be in 2011.

“This is because, as more people use iPlayer, mobiles and online catch-up, the number of households owning televisions is falling.

“It also provides further evidence of the need for the licence fee to be modernised to cover digital services.”

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The new cuts will deliver savings of £50m through merging divisions, cutting down management layers and improving processes, the corporation said.