The BBC, or the British Broadcasting Corp., is under fire from commercial competitors who say it’s unfair that the broadcaster gets public funding to expand into crowded markets like magazines, TV and online news publishing.So the BBC is offering a compromise: cuts across the board, including shuttering radio stations, reducing online operations by a quarter and slashing about $150 million a year in overhead costs.
BBC’s director general Mark Thompson announced the proposal on BBC Radio 4 News this morning. It includes limiting spending on sports rights to 9% of the BBC’s $5.2 billion-a-year licensing budget. They also plan to spend less on rebroadcasting fees, which allows them to air American shows like Heroes and Mad Men on British TV, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The Times reports that the BBC is financed “largely by a levy on British television-owning households, which produced about £3.5 billion pounds, or $5.2 billion, last year. That funding has come under increased scrutiny in recent years as commercial television channels have proliferated, often offering similar programming.”
Especially from competition like News Corp. Last summer, James Murdoch, News Corp.’s top Europe and Asia executive, called for a “dramatic reduction” of government involvement in U.K. media.
Domestic media companies could face the same kind of scrutiny if the FCC and other government agencies find that they need to provide more financial or policy support to media companies and news services. Some FCC commissioners are already fighting against any interventions from government, while some other media companies say they need government support during tough economic times.
The BBC’s proposed “strategic review” was submitted to the BBC Trust, which oversees the company. It will be posted for public review before the group makes a final decision later this year.
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