The BBC plans to put “quality first’ by cutting some services which will see it save approximately £600 million ($900 million) a year — a fifth of its budget — by 2013-14. The public broadcaster said the cutting of services, which include halving the number of sections on its website, will help it improve the quality of UK content.
The BBC will invest 20% less a year on imported shows and films, close digital radio stations BBC 6Music and the Asian Network (which has already elicited an outcry from the sector of the UK population who are regular listeners of these stations), streamline bureaucracy and allocate more money to children’s content, international newsgathering and "ambitious U.K. drama and comedy".
While core services will remain unchanged, other areas to be axed are multimedia teen brands BBC Switch and BBC Blast.
The current director-general Mark Thompson admitted the new policy amounted to a radical change but it was in line with the public broadcaster’s commitment to deliver high quality, distinctive content.
The BBC said it also plans "to exit non-BBC branded channels overseas," which includes the Animal Planet joint venture with Discovery. There is talk that the BBC’s 14-year collaboration with Discovery may end entirely. Instead it plans to concentrate on "nonexclusive partnerships."
Thompson denied that the changes were instigated deliberately ahead of the general election scheduled for May. Which ever the main parties may be after the elections, there will be pressure on the BBC to cut costs as the UK government has to slash public spending to meet its debt obligations.