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BSkyB takes swipe at BBC

Pay TV company says cuts are 'cosmetic'

LONDON — BSkyB, the U.K.’s dominant paybox, has accused arch-rival the BBC of failing to make any “meaningful” decisions about its future.

It dismissed a program of proposed cuts as “tactical and cosmetic.”

In its submission to the consultation on the corp.’s Strategic Review, the satcaster described the economies as “tactical and cosmetic” that “tinker around the edges,” but fail to dent the scale of the corporation’s activities.

The BBC has said it wants to halve its web output and trim the amount it spends on imports by 20%, and ax two digital radio networks.

BSkyB said the corp.’s planned cuts were “arbitrary in nature, designed to attract attention to small changes while disguising the reality of maintaining the status quo.”

The satcaster claimed the plans, announced by director-general Mark Thompson in March, show the pubcaster “does not address in any meaningful way how the BBC should be making hard choices and prioritizing its resources.”

The corp. claimed its proposal to reallocate £600 million ($868 million), putting more coin into such genres as drama and children’s TV, was designed to improve program quality, but BSkyB argued that it “demonstrates how much money the BBC has to play with and how inefficient it has become.”

As for the pubcaster’s plan to cut its acquisitions budget by 20%, the paybox said this only reduced the amount to the level the BBC was spending three years ago “which hardly represents a significant change in approach.”

All submissions to the Strategic Review had to be made by May 25.

The BBC Trust, which represents the corp.’s audiences, will now decide which of the Strategic Review’s proposals should be greenlit.

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