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What is in store for the next round of BBC cuts?

The BBC have asked their Anne Bulford to produce a report, "Driving efficiency at the BBC" that shows where the next lot of cuts are going to happen. What does it mean for you?

What can the BBC cut this time?  Photograph: BBC
What can the BBC cut this time? Photograph: BBC
published on UK Free TV

Perhaps one should not be suspicious, but Anne Bulford's "Driving efficiency" report[1] was published by Reform, rather than the BBC and it missed out one rather important graphic[2], which I have shown here:

Let's explore what this means.  Here from my earlier posting are the costs per hour and the total annual costs of various BBC services.

BBC costs per hour for TV and radio services

 

The BBC is going to have to take tough decisions because this amount of money cannot be saved without some services going off air or being cut considerably.

 

£35m a year from Radio

If Radio 4 is protected, I suspect that this means that Radio 3 will be reduced by two-thirds to a peak hour's service, plus the possible "merger" of 1Xtra into Radio 1. Other possibilities might be the "merger" of Radio 3 and 4, with classical music being reduced to The Proms and selected other evenings.

More networking of BBC Local radio in England, using Radio 5 Live as a sustaining feed.

£250m a year from television (not sports, news or Children's)

With BBC One being generally efficient, the cuts could be achieved by making BBC Two a less extensive service (perhaps making half of peak as repeats), with the parallel closure of BBC 4, replacing the channel with a cheap BBC Two+1. 

Cut back of BBC regional news to evening programme only and reduction in length of programme to 20 minutes daily, much in line what ITV has done.   Also the merge-back of the Oxfordshire service into South Today and the recombination of Look East into a single programme.

£92m a year from News

General cut of 14% from the scope of programmes.

£58m a year from "BBC North" (Sports, Children's, 5 Live)

Probably cuts like closing of Breakfast at weekends and holidays and reduction in weekday hours, large reduction in CBBC budget, overnight service from 5 Live and so forth.  Or moving 5 Live to just relay the TV News channel outside Breakfast and Drivetime news shows.

Given the cost of sports right, perhaps the reduction in scope will mean cutting back BBC Sport to just sports news?

£59m a year from Strategy/Digital

Reduction in scope of new services. 

£27m a year from Scotland

Closing of expensive drama, River City plus "merger" of BBC Scotland and Gaelic radio service. Reduction in Scottish news to 20 minutes evening weekdays. 

£28m a year from BBC Wales

Cut of welsh-language drama, "merger" of Welsh and English language radio services. Reduction in Welsh news to 20 minutes evening weekdays. 

£18m a year from BBC NI

Reduction in NI news to 20 minutes evening weekdays.

£167m a year from finance and operations

This is mainly the cost of workplaces, technology and distribution.     Distribution needs to take the most and this will no doubt mean the closing of AM radio, possible move the remains of Radio 3 to digital only.  

 

[1] Driving efficiency at the BBC: To deliver quality content for the Licence Fee payer -November 2014 [pdf]

[2] From http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/broadcasters/bbc-hints-at-savings-focus/5080644.article but with corrections.

Over to you

Try and imaging, rather than what you personally like, but what you think would be best for the country as a whole.

All questions
In this section
BBC salami-slicing returns to overnight services?1
#GreatBBC campaign launched2
Goodbye BBC Red Button!3
Want to know how much the BBC spend in England, Scotland, Wales and NI per home?4
S4C and Welsh Exceptionalism?5
BBC future: make sure you make the deadline6

Comments
Friday, 12 December 2014
MikeP
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

9:44 PM

Anthony

But in my experience, many of the affected people do not bother with 'catch-up' services as it is far easier and more convenient for them to simply turn on the TV. Plus it is sometimes necessary to have some form of subscription, such as SkyGo, and that's extra expense that many just do not want and cannot afford. Add to that the need to have a halfway decent internet connection to download the 'missed' programmes in a reasonable timescale, it's all extra hassle that is unwanted and actually unnecessary.
Just because a part of the population are happy with loads of gadgets doesn't mean everyone is. In my family one brother is a 'boys toys' enthusiast so has loads of electronic gadgets yet my other brother does not and is not interested - that despite the fact we all grew up with TV from the fifties (Dad worked as a senior electronics engineer for Philips Electrical). But other memebers of our family have trouble with a 'standard' TV let alone a mobile phone! So don't expect everyone to be interested in such things as 'catch up' TV.

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MikeP's 3,055 posts GB
M
MikeB
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

10:19 PM

MikeP: True. Despite the fact that VCR's have been pretty much standard in UK homes for the last 30 years, 69% of adult viewing is still done 'live'. 16% is recorded, and only 5% is using catchup like Iplayer. 3% is Love Film, etc. TV and radio demographics: a BBC time bomb?

OK, on demand viewing via the web is going to increase, and certainly younger people and childen are watching somewhat differently, but technologies often move faster than people.

Firstly, you need to be on the web, and as MikeP says, you need a fast enough broadband speed to watch TV reasonably. Even if you have that, many still dont have any way of accessing those services, and even when they do, they often dont use it, or only very seldom. Thats going to change, but its going to take time, and a lot of content is only available for a relatively short amount of time.

As I advise customers, 'record when you can, stream when you must'.

And frankly, very little money would be saved. Its the content that costs, not the electric bill. The BBC must pay for the transmitter whether they are broadcasting or not, and after that, its just a continuity announcer and someone making sure its all going out correctly. News 24 is just that, a 24 hour operation anyway.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB
Saturday, 13 December 2014
A
Anthony
sentiment_satisfiedBronze

12:55 AM

Overnight TV these days is utter rubbish;looping news and weather/teleshopping/all night gambling/signed repeats, IS THAT GOOD OVERNIGHT CONTENT??? No it isn't!!! Some TV channels DO HAVE closedown downtime by showing an infocard of when the channel recommences broadcasting later on instead of overnight rubbish. Is the rubbish shown overnight when a channel isn't broadcasting it's own output worth it??? If I started a TV or radio station up today it WOULDNT BE 24:7 or filled with rubbish during a channel's downtime. If television it would be 9.30 with a 9.25 start up and would end around midnight or later in the case of a late film with a look at tomorrows progs a look at the clock and an all night testcard and automated overnight stereo music and test-tones sequence. If radio the hours would be 7am-12midnight sunday to friday and 7am-1am saturday with off air test tone after last news of the day and info tape about the station, frequencies, broadcast hours, telephone number and address plus internet address/email info that runs every 15mins.

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Anthony's 46 posts GB
MikeP
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

11:00 PM

Anthony

What may be 'rubbish' to you may well be very interesting to others. Shift workers has every bit as much reason to watch TV during the night when they are not working as others have to watch during the day.evening. I would not be surprised if they are complaining at not getting the programmes they have missed while at work on channels that do not broadcast at night. Not everyone has the 'catch-up' facility and I know many who are just not interested. As MikeB says, record it if you can and then watch at your own convenience - you can do that without resort to the internet. The Internet and Catch-up is not the solution for everyone.

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MikeP's 3,055 posts GB
M
MikeB
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

11:34 PM

Anthony: Your not familiar with the phrase 'sweating the assests', are you? Your scheme might have been OK for about 1968, but its not going to fly now. Present that to investors and they'd laugh - dead air makes you nothing. So as long as you can make more money by showing anything at 4am than its costs you to broadcast it, you'll do it.

And yes, I record stuff I missed first time around in exactly the way MikeP describes.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB
Sunday, 14 December 2014
A
Anthony
sentiment_satisfiedBronze

2:25 AM

TV from midnight to 6am should be uncut popular films, music videos, concerts, sports, music chart shows, film reviews, showbiz goss, popular series from Stateside and the United Kingdom and handover to breakfast TV at 6am;all night gambling encourages people to lose their shirts and money, teleshopping is a viewers wantfest, and news is available from all sources and channels along with weather WHY simulcast news and weather overnight what you can easily get on your laptop notebook tablet i-phone smartphone or internet?

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Anthony's 46 posts GB
A
Anthony
sentiment_satisfiedBronze

2:31 AM

Also some +1 channels closedown overnight and refuse to show what is on their main channel variants because of so-called LEGAL reasons(THEY CAN'T DO IT BASICALLY or they deliberately choose NOT TO DO IT like Channel5+1 which flicks off air at 1am with a 5+1 logo and returns at 5am, itv+1 will NOT simulcast timeshift The Store and the overnight poker showing an off air infocard BUT WILL RETURN WHEN IT IS OVER).

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Anthony's 46 posts GB
MikeP
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

9:38 PM

Anthony

But why should shift workers and others who view at night only get a poor slection of the normal output? They pay their licence fees the same as everyone else (I hope) so are just as entitled to the same service.

The legal reasons you mention are not a matter of the broadcasters' choice. In some cases EU rules and several laws prevent certain copyrighted programmes being broadcast outside of the original timeslot agreed and a +1 channel could go outside of that agreed timing.

TV services should, in my view, be available to all no matter what time they have available to view as long as the broadcaster is not breaking any copyright rules/laws and they fell they can support the broadcasting without making a financial loss.

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MikeP's 3,055 posts GB
Monday, 15 December 2014
J
john Martin
2:12 PM

As long as staff are not forced to work night shifts when they don,t want I agree. But then 90% of night time viewing is repeats anyway and not really worth watching most of the time.

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john Martin's 6 posts GB
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
A
Anthony
sentiment_satisfiedBronze

10:55 AM

Well said John!

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Anthony's 46 posts GB
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