The BBC will be forced to publish the pay of 109 TV and radio stars who earn more than £150,000 ($199,000) a year from 2017, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The British broadcaster fought hard earlier this spring for the talent pay transparency threshold to be set at £450,000 ($497,000), but it has reportedly “ripped up” this agreement in exchange for greater control over its new governance board.
The negotiations with the government are part of renewing the BBC’s operating agreement, or royal charter, for the next 11 years.
The finer details of the charter are being nailed down ahead of the publication of a draft version on Thursday, the Telegraph said.
The newspaper reported that the BBC has agreed to publish the salaries of 109 on-air stars paid more than £150,000 a year.
The 109 figure is contained in the BBC’s annual report and will include stars such as Graham Norton, Gary Lineker and former political editor Nick Robinson.
This was the government’s original ambition, but the BBC fought off the plans in May, warning that it could force talent pay up by making it easier for rivals to poach its stars with better contract offers.
At the same time, the BBC has been battling plans that will enable the government to appoint the majority of non-executive directors to the broadcaster’s powerful new governing board.
BBC director general Tony Hall said this could result in an “erosion” of the corporation’s independence — and it appears that the BBC has prioritised the board battle over talent pay transparency.
The BBC declined to comment. The Department for Culture, Media, and Sport did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Greater transparency over talent pay will please MPs of the Culture, Media, and Sport Committee, who said last month the BBC should publish the salaries of stars who take home more than the prime minister’s £143,000 ($189,000) a year earnings.
The BBC’s rivals, however, have complained that it will achieve little. ITV director of television Kevin Lygo said at the Edinburgh International Television Festival that “it’s a waste of everyone’s time,” adding it is “a mean-spirited, nosy way of looking at things.”
Channel 4 chief creative officer Jay Hunt added: “It puts the BBC on the backfoot in a way that’s unhelpful for licence fee payers.”
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