Mail merge

BBC announces further job cuts as news channels merge

There will be job cuts as BBC News and BBC World News merge to create a single 24-hour television channel, the broadcaster has announced.

The cuts are part of measures to save money after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced license fees would be frozen for the next two years.

It comes after the company announced the end of BBC Four, Radio 4 Extra and CBBC as linear channels.

They are expected to go live on the iPlayer in the next few years as part of the broadcaster’s plans to go “digital first”.

The BBC said on Thursday that the merged channel, which will be called BBC News, is expected to launch in April 2023.

BBC News Digital Director Naja Nielsen said: “Our aim is to create the best live video news and current affairs service in the world – across our webpages, apps, iPlayer and our new channel. television news.

“The way the public consumes information is changing. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a huge increase in viewership on our live coverage, with tens of millions of people following live pages when big stories and events unfold.

“As the world’s most trusted source of news, with deep and extensive expertise, the BBC is uniquely placed to offer the public the best analysis and explanation as these stories unfold.

“So we are investing in new capabilities to cover breaking news, and our news channel and digital teams will work hand in hand to bring the best journalism to audiences both at home and abroad.”

The new channel will broadcast from London during the day and from Singapore and Washington DC at night.

Around 70 BBC staff from all parts of the UK will lose their jobs as a result of the merger, according to the PA news agency.

Twenty jobs will be created in Washington.

BBC News studio (Jeff Overs/PA)

The BBC said the changes will create a streamlined organization that “draws the most value from license fees and delivers more to the public”.

The channel will serve UK and international audiences, with flagship programs built around top journalists, he said.

UK viewers will receive specific content at certain times of day and a live news team will provide a national feed only for specific news events, the broadcaster added.

The channel’s programming will be refreshed over time, with plans to air at least two new programs in 2023, including one from Washington.

The broadcaster said it would also invest in “program viewing” of popular radio shows, starting with Nicky Campbell’s program on BBC Radio 5 Live which will air on BBC Two weekday mornings.

The BBC said the announced plans remained subject to consultation with staff and unions.

Philippa Childs, head of broadcasting union Bectu, criticized the government and said the cuts were caused by its decision to freeze licensing fees at £159 for the next two years until April 2024.

She said: ‘We welcome the BBC’s commitment to meeting the challenges of a changing media landscape and building a digital business, but once again we see the devastating impact of the government’s ill-judged policy decisions. on the workers.

BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast presenter Nicky Campbell (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“His decision to freeze license fees necessitated these job cuts, which will affect extremely talented and dedicated people who work hard to provide essential services to the nation and beyond.

“This is a very difficult and uncertain time for our members and we will continue to fully engage with these proposals to do all we can to support them.

“We will work to ensure that the change is not cost cutting for the sake of it, but really positions the BBC as strongly as possible for the future and delivers the best results for members.”

The broadcaster has already suffered several rounds of layoffs and cuts over the past decade, prompted by less than inflation increases in license fees.

Tim Davie, who succeeded Lord Tony Hall as chief executive in September 2020, has overseen a leaner company since taking office, with 1,200 staff leaving in the last 18 months.

The news comes as the BBC needs to save a further £285m in response to Ms Dorries’ announcement in January that license fees will be frozen for the next two years.

The company is facing uncertainty over the future of licensing fees after Ms Dorries said a consultation on future BBC funding will start soon.

She said she wanted to find a new funding model before the current deal expires in 2027 because it is “completely outdated”.