Thompson's blueprint - Press Gazette

Thompson's blueprint

BBC director general Mark Thompson promised to invest in journalism at the same time as slashing jobs and budgets.

Thompson announced that efficiency savings of 15 per cent would be required of the BBC’s news department and the nations and regions as well as radio, music, TV and new media to make up a £320 million-a-year target in the next three years.

The number of jobs that will be affected will not be clear until after each department submits its proposals in February, although it is thought that as many as 400 jobs in news could go.

An “initial” 2,500 jobs will be cut in the BBC’s “professional services” including its communications and human resources departments. A further 400 will go in the BBC’s factual and learning department.

Thompson pledged that money saved by the cuts would be invested in areas where the BBC has “commanding reputations”, which he said included journalism.

The NUJ described the cuts as “savage” and questioned how journalism could be improved at the same time as jobs and budgets were being cut.

BBC Sport, Five Live and Five Live Sports Extra are to move to Manchester, with 1,800 BBC staff affected. BBC Three is to remain in London.

It will be five years before they move to a new “state of the art” creative and broadcast centre in Manchester – whether the current city centre site will be used or a new location is still undecided.

Staff from “the controller of Radio Five Live down” will be expected to move, but a “strong” news operation will be maintained in London.

A financial package, including schemes to buy employees’ houses, pay legal and moving fees and help partners and spouses find new jobs, will be offered. This is aimed at “making the potential move to Manchester attractive”.

Staff will be asked to decide in the next 18 months if they want to move – those who choose not to will be offered redundancy.

Peter Salmon, currently the BBC’s director of sport, will be in charge of the £500 million move. But governors will only agree it after the BBC’s Charter and licence fee are settled.


? More investment for “original journalism” and “enhanced” newsgathering and current affairs on BBC One.

? Panorama to get more money and more slots, although there is no guarantee that the flagship current affairs programme would move from the Sunday “graveyard” slot to the peaktime schedules.

? Strengthened presence in the Middle East and Islamic world.

? Increased investment in sporting and national events.


? Local radio in England and radio in Northern Ireland will be expected to make efficiency savings of 10 per cent over the next three years.

? BBC Ireland (excluding radio), BBC Scotland and BBC Wales have been asked to make savings of 15 per cent.

? Network commissions from the nations will double to 17 per cent.

? Part of the BBC’s factual commissioning team is to be based in Bristol.


? BBC Worldwide’s Eve magazine to be sold along with others not connected to the BBC’s programmes or to its overall content.

? Following criticism from the magazine industry, the trailing of magazine titles on air is to end.

? New magazine launches will have to be related to BBC programmes.


? No change to the 25 per cent independent production quota in TV, with a reduction of in-house production from 70 per cent to 60 per cent. Four hundred jobs will be cut in the BBC’s factual and learning department as a result.

? The independent production quota for radio will be extended to include sport, radio in the nations and new digital radio stations ? A review of commissioning will be carried out on Radio 4.


? A 25 per cent quota for production of online content established in line with recommendations set out by Philip Graf in his report of May this y


? Efficiency savings to be announced by Richard Sambrook, director of the BBC’s World Service and Global News division, and Nigel Chapman, director of the BBC World Service, as part of a separate review.


? Both will be sold, with more than 2,300 staff affected.



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