The Times newspaper claims that the BBC is preparing to cut two radio stations, spend less on acquiring oversea’s programmes and halve the size of its website as the corporation tries to cut back its budget and concentrate on quality rather than quantity.
A report in The Times newspaper claims that the BBC will cut back on some of its services as it attempts to curb spending and refocus its outlook – concentrating on quality instead of quantity. The paper claims that the measures are part of the BBC’s strategic review which will be revealed next month. The paper claims that this review will see the BBC decide to axe radio stations 6 Music and the Asian Network both of which have already been subjected to speculation over their future. Late last year the BBC cancelled the Asian Network’s soap, Silver Street, which had been on-air for several years. At the time the corporation claimed the money used for Silver Street would be used instead to produce one-off plays for the Asian Network.
As well as axing the two radio stations the paper also claims that the BBC will spend less on acquiring programmes for aboard, particularly America. The BBC currently broadcasters dramas such as Man Men, Damages and Heroes from America but if the report in the paper is correct the BBC will have less to spend on securing the programmes. The BBC has come under fire for buying programmes from American broadcasters and some have even argued the BBC should not be allowed to. While the critically acclaimed drama Mad Men performs well for BBC Four & BBC Two it’s a different story for Heroes which airs on BBC Two and has seen audiences dive below 1 million viewers – but the series is also struggling in America and is widely expected to be cancelled by broadcaster NBC.
The BBC is also planning to spend 25% less on its website according to the Times article and will include more links to newspaper articles to drive traffic to that of its rivals. Last year the direct general of the BBC, Mark Thompson, did state the BBC would spend less on certain areas and that some digital services might be scaled back. Ben Stephenson, the BBC’s controller of drama, also stated last year that some returning dramas would have to be cancelled by the corporation to direct money to newer and original dramas. This prompted speculation that popular shows such as Waking the Dead, Hustle and Silent Witness would be culled by the BBC even though they perform strongly for the corporation.