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BBC announces further cuts to sports, news and online services

The BBC has announced a further round of cuts, including a reduction in the budget for BBC News and Sport and a proposed closure of the BBC's Red Button service. 

The cuts have been blamed on a £150m hole in finances caused by the so-called "iPlayer loophole", where viewers avoid the licence fee by watching BBC programmes online.

Although the loophole is due to be closed during the next BBC Charter period, the BBC has also got to deliver further savings in the next five years due to taking on the cost of over 75s TV licences at the end of the decade, and must identify another £550 million of savings to be made by 2021/2022, with a further announcement expected in the spring.

Cuts in detail
(source: BBC)
  • £50 million will be saved by creating a simpler, leaner BBC, with fewer divisions and senior managers, fewer layers between the top and bottom of the organisation and cutting 1,000 posts. Strong progress is already being made – the first phase of work is now complete and subject to staff consultation and further detailed work:
  • c.£25 million will come from reducing back office and professional support services.
  • c.£10 million from reducing management layers in content areas. Discussions are now beginning with those affected.
  • £35 million will be saved from the BBC’s TV sports rights budget.
  • A further £12 million will come from the BBC’s TV budget. Drama will be protected. This will mean some reductions to factual, comedy and entertainment. Savings from The Voice UK (moving to ITV) will be used to develop new, home-grown formats.
  • £12 million will be cut from BBC Online. This will involve rationalising new features, innovation and development across the BBC’s digital services, and focusing on those with greatest impact
  • £5 million will come from BBC News. This will include efficiency savings from a review of working practices, terms and conditions, and commercial income or cost reductions in BBC Monitoring (subject to approval from the BBC Trust)
  • £20 million of savings will come from long-term contracts and other costs, due to the current lower levels of inflation
  • The final c.£16million will come from cross-cutting areas, including 
  • Savings in distribution costs (the cost of getting BBC TV and radio services to your home)
  • Exploring a phased exit from the broadcast Red Button service and focusing on interactive TV offerings on connected televisions and iPlayer
  • Exploring further savings from BBC Online

Director-General Tony Hall said:
“The BBC has and is doing everything possible to make sure the impact on the public is minimised. Wherever possible we’re targeting savings by creating a simpler, leaner BBC.
“But cuts to budgets for programmes and services are unavoidable. No Director-General wants to announce reduced spending on services that the public love. This is very tough, but the BBC’s financial position means there is no alternative.”


  1. I cant imagine the "traditional" Red Button (text news / sport) costs much - like it says in the article, the stories are lifted directly from BBC News / Sports online.

    Perhaps the Red Button+ service is being closed in favor of the BBC News and BBC Sports apps, available on YouView and other connected TV's.

    1. Further details have now been released/confirmed by the BBC and are now posted above.

  2. Alas neither my TV (2014 Sony range) nor my Freeview PVR support connected Red Button. Well that's the end of red button for me then, I'm not buying new kit for one or two programmes a year I've watched on Red Button channels.

    Tony Hall says there is no alternative. But there is - a properly funded BBC with a decent licence fee. I don't want reductions in Factual programming.

    My parents neither want nor need their free TV licence, and it was a Gordon Brown give away anyway. Just get rid of the free licence for over 75s, it's only been around for about a decade. It seems people have short memories.

  3. if the bbc was atrue public service broadcaster it would stop radio1/2 and bbc1 tv stop competeing with commercial tv and model its self on pbs cbc

  4. The BBC is purely an old boy's club David... A publically-funded toy for the rich kids; their going head-to-head with commercial TV is all about self-serving egos. They've been ****ing public money up the wall for decades. - Mainly on talentless public-school wasters. - Long time since they employed the best; merely the well-connected!

    Personally I've ZERO confidence in their will to develop home-grown talent; and I say that as someone who's spend 35 years working in TV, including a dozen lecturing in TV production. - It high time they were returned to the real world and learned their place in it!


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