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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.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015
Mick Dawn
8:12 PM


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Mick Dawn's 3 posts NL flag
Sunday, 6 September 2015
Jeff Eastmond

12:20 PM

All comments so far seem to be in the area of channels and the on-screen talent - what about looking at the Management structure and stripping out some of the dead wood there?

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Jeff Eastmond's 36 posts GB flag

1:44 PM

Tony Hall is announcing more job losses amoungst middle mangers this week. BBC plans TV and radio services for Russia and North Korea | Media | The Guardian (and reading through those comments is deeply depressing - DKism at its worse)

However, PwC did give it a good report on management. Although some (Armando Iannucci for instance) have expressed frustration at BBC management and the number of levels (which is seemingly being sorted right now), you do need managers, and you cannot expect an organisation which spends £3.5bn a year and does so many things to be run by the same number of managers that get employed by a small business. Certainly pay seems lower than rival broadcasters for doing much the same thing, so we can ignore the usual 'more than the PM' nonsense.

What really costs is making stuff. If you want good costume drama, that costs a lot more than showing clips of old TV shows and wheeling in micro celebs to comment about it. The World Service is fantastic, but can't run on the budget of hospital radio. Original programming costs a lot more than buying in US shows.

Cheap is not cheap, expensive is not expensive.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
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Anthony Clarke
4:14 PM

BBC is what Britain is all about. It is a real shame they have to cut anything. What would make a difference, I think would be to modify the license fee sufficient to finance the former terrestrial channels. Iplayer should be subject to subscription - nothing too excessive, say a standard fee of £1.50 per viewing. This would then include those who avoid payment at the moment. While not suggesting the introduction of advertising I would suggest the introduction of sponsorship of programme series like ITV does. I would appreciate feedback on these ideas

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Anthony Clarke's 1 post GB flag

7:26 PM

Anthony Clarke: I certainly agree that the BBC is very important to the UK, and it is a shame that they should cut things.

However, I'm not sure how workable your proposals are. I am a bit unclear about what you mean about modifying 'the license fee sufficient to finance the former terrestrial channels.', but if you mean that only the former analogue channels should get financing, how would that work, and what would be the benefit?
If you use Iplayer once every 3-4 days, you've paid as much if not more than the current licence fee in subscription/pay per view. And how would such payments be administered - all transactions have costs, so would it be cost effective? And since the government is finally updating the law, so that the loophole on watching via Iplayer without the need for a licence will be closed, if you are trying to watch without paying, then its fairly easy to find out from your IP address (I assume - can Brianist supply more details?) if you have paid or not.

As for sponsorship, a) Its advertising, which the BBC does not do, b) According to a recent experiment, people really didn't like adverts anyway, and therefore liked the BBC for not having them, c) According to Brianist a while back, they do actually get much cash, relatively speaking, and d) ITV et al are not going to be happy sharing what cash there is.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
Monday, 7 September 2015
B Ekins
9:44 AM

The BBC concentrates far too much on minorities and doing things that commercial already do. It could also cut back on the amount of money it spends on promoting left wing causes.

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B Ekins's 1 post GB flag

10:53 AM

B Ekins: So your arguing that the BBC caters to only a very small part of the audience, but because its doing things that the commercial channels do, its also far too mainstream?

Great way to contradict yourself dude.

Brianist: Is there a problem with updated comments? I'm getting problems on both Chrome and Firefox, with new comments not appearing.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag

1:25 PM

MikeB: There was an incorrect (1 week vs 1 minute) http header that was stopping browsers refreshing pages correctly. You might have to ctrl+F5 to override this for a few days. My apologies, I'm still recovering from the surgery and have fallen behind with a few necessary "invisible" fixes.

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Briantist's 38,899 posts US flag
Thursday, 10 September 2015
Charles Stuart

9:43 PM

I think that part of the problem with the check boxes above is that it's way too broad. I would not cut any one channel, except perhaps the radio station 1Xtra, but I would cut certain types of programming and I would try to cut the salaries of many BBC staff. I do not think that the BBC needs to compete in popular programming the way it does with commercial channels. Its primary focus should be on educational and informative programming but some entertainment must be retained. I don't like soaps but I accept that they're very popular, so I'd keep Eastenders, Doctors and Casualty. However, I think that talent shows really are an expense too far, so I'd cut The Voice, Strictly Come Dancing and most other shows in that area. I would look for savings by cutting the pay of executives, programme presenters and actors. I'd try to protect the pay of the less well paid support staff. I would look to try and enhance the BBC's earnings from commercial ventures, such as books, magazines, sales overseas of original programming and overseas joint ventures in broadcasting. This would be to try and reduce the £613M saving required. I don't know if I could cover every needed saving through my ideas but I'd definitely seek to continue BBC1, BBC2, BBC4, Radio 4, Radio 3, Five Live, 6 Music and Radio 2. If really pressed, I think the BBC should consider selling Radio 1 as a going concern to a commercial provider, who would take on a PSB remit.

Things I'd like to know in order to make more informed choices are:

1. What are the typical salaries of programme presenters, whether local or national?
2. What are the typical salaries of actors?
3. Does the BBC have retained actors who are paid a full-time salary and expected to be exclusively available to the BBC? If not, could such a pool of actors save the BBC money?
4. What do BBC corporate managers and other support staff get in the way of pay?
5. How much do programmes like The Voice cost? They look expensive but are they?
6. Has the BBC ever carried out any type of audit on how much they spend on sending documentary makers around the world for programmes that could just as easily be made wholly in the UK or by using input from foreign journalists reporting from their home countries?

There are one or two areas where I would like to see the BBC expand, despite big cuts elsewhere. I would like to see more high quality science and more high quality history on BBC channels. Most of it seems to be on BBC4 and Radio 4 but I think there should be more on BBC1 and BBC2.

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Charles Stuart's 159 posts GB flag
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Friday, 11 September 2015

1:20 PM

Charles Stuart: Be careful that we dont end up in 'what I like' land. Everyone pays the licence fee, and for every person who values a deep and meaningful science programme (me), there a lots who do not, but do watch 'The Voice'. And thats what they value, or indeed both programmes.

1. Salaries - the onscreen talents salaries are £181m - that sound a lot, but its not a huge slice of the operating budget. Many are freelancers, so their rate is bascally set by the market. Its likely that they could earn more on other channels.

2, Actors again work in a marketplace, where 80% plus of the profession is 'resting' at any one time. Rates are set by the union, and although big stars might get a good deal, they will often work for rather less than the going rate for the right script. I'm pretty sure that Maggie G. worked for vastly less than she normally gets paid for The Honourable Woman, because it interested her. And the BBC does programmes nobody else makes, so big stars will make programmes for them just becuase they can. Thats how Radio 6 gets some amazing presenters - Iggy Pop really doesn't need the money!

And since a good part of all British TV is made by independents, the cost of a salary for something like New Tricks or GBBO is borne by the porduction company - the BBC will pay £X for that programme.

3. A rep company often comes up as a solution, but its unworkable in practice, especially since actors are so plentiful. Much cheaper and better to recruit what you need, when you need it.

4. less than the industry rate. Remember that the BBC has open books, and so its easy for hacks to nose around. ITV and Sky - no. They might get some headline figures for the CEO, but other than track ads for execs, etc, its all a bit sensitive. However, compare the pay for BBC, C4, C5, ITV and Sky heads - the BBC head is paid a lot less than pretty much everyone else, and has a lot more headaches.

5. A lot, but they are not the most expensive programme. The format did cost, yes, but thats not a major cost. White floor shows are not as expensive as drama, and can often deliver a bigger audience, at least one that justifies the cost. Same with reality shows - more bang for your buck. The BBC spends a lot on drama, and far more than Sky or ITV - thats the really costly programming.

6. I bet they have. But there is no substitute for having someone on the ground, and remember for the Attenborough's, etc, the foriegn version will often have their own voiceover, etc. You do need someone will to spend 6 months in the jungle willing to get that 2 min of footage, and that does cost. Its cannot be done in a studio.

Personally, I can't understand why news presenters have to be carted off to the scence of a disaster, especially on the Today programme, but its not probably a big part of any budget.

The BBC1 is not going to sell Radio1, etc. Its doesn't do privitisation. What it will do is keep as much going for as long as it can. Unfortunately everyone wants something cut, but nobody can agree on what that should be. More high quality science programmes? Yes, but having a 2 hour history of microscopes on BBC1 at peak time is unlikely to work! Horses for courses.

In reality, the BBC does programmes nobody else does - listening to The Reunion this week and was amazed that Bennetts monologues 'Talking Heads' were on BBC1 in primetime! The only reason there is a real problem is money, and thats the governments fault.

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MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
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