LONDON — The BBC is preparing to axe up to 2,800 jobs — around 12% of the workforce — as director-general Mark Thompson finalizes his blueprint for another round of cuts.
The scale of the job losses, many of which are expected to be in factual program making departments, was revealed in a report published by the Financial Times on Tuesday.
The director-general is seeking economies amounting to 6% of the corp.’s annual $6 billion-plus annual budget over each of the next five years.
The cuts are necessary because an increase to the annual license fee — levied on all U.K. TV-watching homes — was below the rate of inflation.
The director-general is understood to have ruled out saving coin by closing a web, such as digital upstart BBC3, instead opting for cuts within existing activities.
He thinks the BBC should concentrate on making fewer, high quality programs, which will inevitably lead to more repeats on flagship services like BBC One.
The corp.’s ruling body, the BBC Trust, meets Oct. 17 to approve Thompson’s proposals.
The imminent economies, which could trigger a strike by BBC staff, and a series of controversies involving deceiving audiences is creating a febrile atmosphere at the corp.
Last Friday, BBC One controller Peter Fincham resigned following the publication of an inquiry into faked footage in the docu “A Year With the Queen,” which accused the pubcaster of “misjudgments, poor practice and ineffective systems.”
Thompson’s strategy and leadership style are being attacked by middle managers and BBC presenters, such as public affairs anchor Jeremy Paxman, who speaking at the Edinburgh International Festival in August said further cuts to budgets were “unsustainable.”
“We have lost producers, researchers and reporters,” Paxman said. “Nor can we make the films we once made … it is unsustainable, and I cannot see how the program (‘Newsnight’) can survive in anything like its current form if the cuts are implemented.”