A shortfall in funding at the BBC means the corporation is being forced to cut £150M in expenditure by 2017. The deficit stems from an increasing shift to online viewing by Britons who are able to access programming through a loophole which allows them to avoid paying a license fee. That annual fee pays for the BBC. The broadcaster previously announced that delivering a “leaner” BBC will come from slashing £50M by eliminating divisions and cutting 1,000 posts by 2017; that work is underway. Today, it outlined how it plans to cut another £100M.
While drama, a hallmark of the BBC, will be protected, £12M will be saved out of the TV budget. That will come from a range of other genres including factual, comedy and entertainment. Despite the upcoming loss of The Voice UK, the BBC said it remains committed to making popular Saturday night programming and will use the savings from that show to develop home-grown formats.
A further £35M in savings will come from the BBC’s TV sports rights budget. Given the astronomical sums paid by the likes of Sky and BT for premium sports rights, the BBC anticipates its cuts “will lead to the loss of some existing rights and events.” Open Golf has already gone, but Wimbledon, Premier League highlights, live coverage of Euro 2016 and 2020 football championships and Six Nations rugby remain shared with ITV.
Other reductions will come from BBC Online, News, and cross-cutting areas with further announcements set for the spring.