The BBC announced that it will cut more than 1,000 jobs as part of a restructuring, with a $234 million gap forecast for 2016-2017 in license fee income, Deadline.com reports.
BBC Director General Tony Hall announced the moves, saying in a statement: “A simpler, leaner, BBC is the right thing to do and it can also help us meet the financial challenges we face. We’ve already significantly cut the costs of running the BBC, but in times of very tough choices we need to focus on what really matters — delivering outstanding programs and content for all our audiences.”
The Deadline report notes that the announcement follows gains by Britain’s Conservative government in the May general elections, which fueled speculation about what Prime Minister David Cameron intended to do with the BBC.
“BBC political editor Nick Robinson has revealed that Cameron threatened/joked with reporters while on a campaign bus that he was ‘going to close them down after the election,'” Deadline notes. “Though believed to have been made in jest, the threat of closure was an ominous harbinger of what lies ahead for the BBC.”
The revenue gap is being attributed to market conditions similar to what’s going on in the U.S. The shortfall “has been blamed on more people using iPlayer, mobiles and online catch-up, leading to an unexpected fall in the the number of households owning televisions,” the report notes.
But a key difference between the U.S. and U.K. TV markets is that households in the U.K. are required to pay a fee of about $250 per year to help fund the pubcaster.
Deadline notes: “The pubcaster has been under pressure to find alternative ways to fund its operations. Earlier this year, a report from the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee said that the TV license is ‘becoming harder and harder to justify.’”