BBC digital webs BBC3 and 4 have escaped the ax, but the pubcaster must find ways to cut 3% from its budget over the next five years to save $4 billion.
This decision was the primary result of Wednesday’s crunch meeting between the pubcaster’s ruling body, the BBC Trust, and director-general Mark Thompson, who has made no secret of his desire to keep BBC3 and 4 running.
Hundreds of jobs are expected to go as a result of the cuts, which are expected to hit nonfiction program makers at the BBC’s west London studios.
The cuts are necessary in the wake of the government’s January decision to cease pegging the annual BBC license fee, levied on all homes that have a TV, to the rate of inflation.
Trust supports 3% across-the-board cuts starting at the beginning of the next fiscal year, rather than axing BBC3 and 4, which jointly cost some $278 million a year to run.
Trust also agrees with Thompson that the BBC should make fewer but higher quality programs to distinguish it from commercial rivals.
Thompson and his team will now thrash out the financial details before they are put to the Trust for approval at their October meeting. The BBC will then make a public announcement on the financial priorities.