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How would you cut £613m from the BBC budget?

UK Free TV is making it possible for you to decide what to cut and what to keep. Use the tick boxes to select what you would cut from the BBC budget, and see your progress in the bar below. Please share!!!

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Broadband rollout "topsliced" to BT£150.0m-
BBC One£1,433.6m45.3m
BBC Two£533.4m32.0m
BBC Three (online only)£20.0m-
BBC Four£63.1m10.6m
BBC Four£63.1m10.6m
BBC ALBA£9.0m-
BBC News channel£63.0m8.8m
BBC Parliament£10.1m0.7m
BBC Radio 1£54.3m-
BBC Radio 2£60.4m-
BBC Radio 3£55.1m-
BBC Radio 4£115.7m-
BBC Radio 5 Live£66.1m-
BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra£5.7m-
BBC 1Xtra£11.1m-
BBC 6Music£12.5m-
BBC 4 Extra£7.5m-
BBC Asian Network£10.7m-
BBC Local Radio (England)£153.8m-
BBC Radio Scotland£31.4m-
BBC Radio nan Gaidheal£6.0m-
BBC Radio Wales£19.9m-
BBC Radio Cymru£18.3m-
BBC Radio Ulster/BBC Radio Foyle£24.0m-
BBC Online, iPlayer (and Red Button)£201.0m-
Orchestras and performing groups£32.5m-
S4C (inc direct funding)£107.0m0.6m
Development spend£82.8m-
BBC World Service operating licence£253.6m-
Licence fee collection costs£110.3m-
PSB Group pension deficit reduction payment£376.8m-
Costs incurred to generate intra-group income£170.2m-
Costs incurred to generate third-party income£133.4m-
Restructuring costs£8.4m-
Digital switchover (DSHS Limited)£0.4m-
Local TV£2.9m-

Notes: this page is based on the figures in the BBC Full Financial Statements 2014/15, less the change of BBC Three from £114.2m TV to £20m online service. Full Financial Statements also shows the current number of governement-funded 'Over 75s' licences - 4,215,808 - giving the eventual shortfall of £613.4m. BBC Worldwide/BBC America profit of £109m to BBC 'PSB Group' and one-off £78.6m for 'lease reclassification' also not shown. The 'Reach' is the number of people tuning into the service each week, from BARB Viewing Summary and RAJAR Quarterly Listening.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

10:22 PM

Brianist: Thats a tough list, and I dont envy the people taking the final decisons. The BBC does things nobody else does (who else is going to do Big Blue Live and Worlds Busiest Railway over a week?), and we need to remember that this shortfall isn't the fault of the BBC, but rather the government for having frozen the licence fee for the past five years, plus heaped lots of extra costs on them. That money is not far off one sixth of the total BBC income, and comes on top of lots of other cuts over the past number of years.

The notion that large amounts can be saved by getting rid of an extra newsreader, paying onscreen talent less (the BBC already pays rather less than the market rate) or sacking some managers isn't supported by the facts. In fact a recent report by a City accountancy firm reckoned the BBC was very well run when judged against the rest of the public sector.

Nor should we engage in 'I dont use it'ism. We all pay the licence fee, and there is no reason why a 55 year old man who listens to Radio 2 and 5 Live, watches Question of Sport, F1 and that programme about classic cars on BBC4 should get what he wants, yet a 26 year old Asian female who listens to the Asian network and Radio 1Xtra, enjoys BBC3 and likes Strictly should lose out.

Chris Bryant has complained about the sort of language used on the DCMS blog on consulatation about the BBC's future (subtle its not). The BBC can point to a lot of the smaller and more niche things its does as proof that its not just aping the market, but does stuff that the market never touches. The problem is that these are small enough to be in the firing line, or are services like local radio, which is expensive but isn't listened to by a vast number of people, yet will be vocally defended, and denounced by the (self serving) press.

OK, some things are no brainers. The broadband rollout was always a disgrace, since central governemnt should have picked up the tab. Thats £150m. I've long argued that S4C makes no sense. Its most popuar programme (Y SIOE 2015) in the last week in July got just 62,000 viewers, with a repeat getting just 22,000. And a fair number of the programmes in that 20 are made by BBC Wales. Thats £107m.

To that digital roll out costs (its been 3 years, whats left to do?) and the £2.9m for Local TV, which was a stupid vanity project by Jeremy Hunt, and should be left to sink or swim. Thats a total of £260.3m, which leaves £354m to find! You havn't mentioned LW, but in 2011 it had just 90,000 listeners, and I seem to remember that the cost then was £5m a year. That cost per listner will have gone up since then, so it has to go, even if the equipment is still hanging on. Thats £349m.

And then its gets really hard. The bulk of the niche channels and radio stations dont actually cost that much, and are exactly the sort of thing the BBC should be doing. Like petit fours, you need a lot of them to make a difference. Radio Cymru and nan Gaidheal are hard to justify, considering their small number of listeners (is there even one for the latter?), but I understand their role, just as Alba provides a service. Can these service be helped out by the national governments, thus laying off some of the costs? Perhaps the same for Radio Scotland. BBC Local Radio is going to be radically slimmed down, plus the regional programming - I know the local TV is costly, and the regions dont quite make sense - too big to be local, and too expensive to make truely local. I think you suggested a figure of £700m odd for the TV regions, so slashing £300 from both the radio and TV could be done. Perhaps then Radio 1 and Radio 5 Xtra to make the total. Or just Radio 3, which is costly and with a tiny audience. Or perhaps all 3.

But its going to be brutal. Everyone is going to depend the service they love, and there will be fallout. The nats are going to hate all the cuts to their natiional programming, and the press are going to make hay. Politcians and commentators are going to denounce every cut, whilst insisting the BBC saves money. Its the same with NHS hospital closures - effectiveness and cost savings mean that every MP knows some places have to close in principle, but when its comes to their local A & E (no matter how woeful it has become), they will fight tooth and nail to save it.

Of course that shortfall depends on whether there is a realterms rise in income from an increased licence fee, and whether the over 75's costs can be controlled. For instance, people should have to apply for exemption, rather than it being automatic. That might put off some people who frankly dont need it.

Personally, the best thing they could do is threaten to close BBC Parliament. No MP is going to want the only channel all about them to close!

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
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Dan H
11:13 PM

I think it's obvious that Murdoch hoped the BBC would close BBC News and most online activities - it must be widely assumed that forcing the BBC to foot the bill for free licences for the elderly was a favour to Murdoch for his support during the election. Personally I think the future of BBC needs to be agreed by cross party consensus and then protected by a device similar to the Royal Charter on Press Self-Regulation that prevents politicians tampering with the BBC at a later date as a favour to their political benefactors.

More radically perhaps, in the future I'd be happy for BBC1 (with its soaps, sitcoms, talent shows and quiz shows) to become a premium bolt-on channel for an additional subscription/supplement to licence fee, as and when technology exists to make that possible for every UK citizen. So long as the factual stuff (Crimewatch etc) is moved off BBC1 and on to free-to-air licence-funded BBC2, only the "popular entertainment" that competes with ITV should be left on BBC1. I'd also like more vintage archive programming from the BBC archives available on BBC4 (like a TV version of Radio4 Extra).

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Dan H's 1 post GB flag
Monday, 24 August 2015
Dave Hagen
4:26 PM

I still can't get my head around the likes of Chris Evans and Gary Lineker on the amount of money they are on. What about Media City in Salford and all the so called stars being transported there from London and elsewhere. To me the likes of that is all unnecessary expense. I also think the government should rein in on the license fee as I feel the more the BBC gets handed to them the more they waste.

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Dave Hagen's 5 posts GB flag
6:42 PM

If I was thinking only of my own tastes I would simply remove all "sport" (currently big business by any other name) from the BBC and let them as wants it pay for it.
Unfortunately I guess that wouldn't go down too well.

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Bob's 2 posts US flag
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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

9:50 AM

Dan H: the suggestion of a subscription service has been suggested many times, but dies a death when it comes to practcially and cost. There are no recording devices out there capable of being a 'Beeb box', they would have to be designed and built. There would need to be a huge roll out of such boxes, and who would pay for them? Do you get one free? Do you buy the next one? Who knows. What is clear is that it would cost billions, would make a lot of useable kit obsolete, and be a total pain. If Sky is any guide, it would require a quarter of any revenue stream to maintain such a system, and of course if takeup is less than 100%, will require even more money per household than present, plus the need to cover the costs of making the subscription model work.

So having a sort of partial system makes even less sense. You've got all the costs, but people get a lot of it free? If I'm paying a subscription, I dont want any freeloaders, and what is 'popular entertainment' anyway? And you've still got to pay a licence fee?

On the other hand, I would like more archive stuff (people will complain about repeats, but then they are often the same people who fork out for UKGold) - there is some great stuff on Iplayer already, but we could certainly have more.

Dave Hagen: A report two years ago reckoned that the move was generally well handled, although some of the relocation packages were too generous. People in the North rightly complain that much of the media is too London based, and it was right to move much of BBC production out of expensive London. Who knows what savings there will be, but if they had stayed, people would also have complained. As for Gary Lineker and co, they are in a competitive market, and you dont get something for nothing. And as Brianist pointed out, the total 'talent' costs are a relatively small part of the overall budget. Its a bit of 'look over there - a squirral!'

Its worth wondering just how much the columnists who go on about how much the BBC pays for Chris Evans, etc, actually get paid themselves? And their editor. I suspect they are not on minimum wage, and possibly far more than they would be if they worked for the BBC.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
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4:44 PM

MikeB: Thanks for your comments, they are very interesting.

You're correct about the cost of BBC One nations and regions - I used a 2004 figure of £550m and added inflation - BBC - Press Office - BBC Nations & Regions - and got Why the BBC should abandon 700+m "regional news" to fund local radio, BBC three....

Also thanks for the radio times article, I've already posted up my "response" Time for the BBC to release the DOGs? !

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Briantist's 38,907 posts US flag
Wednesday, 26 August 2015

2:31 PM

How much would be saved by moving bbc4 programs to 1 and 2? most of them are repeats and the rest could be fitted into 1 and 2 sheduals.

Local TV
Welsh, Scottish, Irish radio
Why is the BBC paying for Broad band roll out?
Asian network

Cut the amount the presenters get paid.

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Ian's 497 posts GB flag
Friday, 28 August 2015
9:44 AM

Ditch highly paid presenters like Chris Evans. Anyone who plays heavy metal music at 7am deserves. To be sacked on the spot!

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Ian's 1 post GB flag
Saturday, 29 August 2015
11:26 AM

How much would the BBC save by closing down BBC1 and BBC2 from 9.15am til 4pm every week day?

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David's 20 posts GB flag
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