You’re Fired: BBC set to sack journalists pending imminent revamp

February 26, 2020

2 min read

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What's going on here?

With a change in senior management and an ongoing licence fee discussion, the BBC is ready to announce a drastic batch of redundancies, rendering around 500 individuals jobless.

What does this mean?

A series of job cuts are forthcoming with an estimated annual saving of around £80m. The aim is to modernise the newsroom before the new Director-General takes over after Tony Hall’s 7-year tenure comes to an end.

The cost-cutting plan would have an impact on programmes like Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Two and Radio 4’s World at One. It also seems that the BBC has been falling out of favour with younger generations as digital media rapidly gains popularity and viewing habits move away from linear delivery.

What's the big picture effect?

Fran Unsworth, BBC’s Director of News and Current Affairs, predicted that the plans would translate to a “reduction in the overall number of stories covered” and “further investment in digital news”. The reasons for these changes seem to be driven by a key factor: to cover a wider audience, including 16-34 year olds. Engaging with younger audiences is crucial to the BBC’s survival. In 2016, BBC Three was taken off air and converted into an online service with a reduced budget.

In light of recent government plans to decriminalise the license fees for over-75s, the economic strain on the Corporation is increasing. A public consultation is set to take place to discuss the issue of prohibiting prosecution of individuals in default of payment of license fees.

The results of the public consultation are likely to form a bargaining chip in the forthcoming licence fee negotiations, which will set the cost of the annual charge from 2022 onward. The government will not challenge the existence of the licence fee itself, which is guaranteed by the BBC’s royal charter until 2027. In 2027, the BBC will enter its 101st year under the charter, but the next few years could be the most transformative to date. 

Report written by Pratyush Chaturvedi

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