BBC News axes 450 jobs to save £80m


The BBC is to cut 450 jobs across its News division as part of a cost-cutting effort to save £80m.

BBC News has outlined plans to modernise its newsroom to respond to changing audience needs. This it said will ensure it is providing a truly universal service, and complete its £80m savings target.

BBC News cuts

The broadcaster said that firm plans for post closures relating to the new ways of working (more below) will be put forward before the summer, following further trials of the new model.

The publicly-funded organisation said it needs to save £80m by 2022. This is driven by pressures across the BBC, including the last licence fee settlement.

The News channel has already saved about half of this amount and the changes announced today should complete the savings.

The BBC will maintain the ring-fenced spending on the BBC World Service. The changes announced today do not directly affect the services being funded by the UK Government.

Audience changes

It said that audience behaviour is changing rapidly, with audiences for linear TV continuing to decline, especially amongst 16-34 year-olds.

The BBC newsroom will be reorganised along a ‘story-led’ model, focusing on news stories more than on programmes or platforms.

This is designed to reduce duplication and to ensure that BBC journalism is making as much impact as possible with a variety of audiences, rather than stories only appearing on one outlet or platform.

The new way of working will mean a changed focus for the news agenda, to ensure it is tailored to subjects that matter most to the audience.

Less news coverage

The changes mean there will be a reduction in the overall number of stories covered.

There will be further investment in digital news, with a new version of the BBC News app. This, the Beeb said, will be more intuitive, more visual, and with increased personalisation.

More BBC journalists will be based outside London in future.

Fran Unsworth, Director of News and Current Affairs, said: “The BBC has to face up to the changing way audiences are using us.

“We have to adapt and ensure we continue to be the world’s most trusted news organisation, but crucially, one which is also relevant for the people we are not currently reaching.

“We need to reshape BBC News for the next decade in a way which saves substantial amounts of money. We are spending too much of our resources on traditional linear broadcasting and not enough on digital.

“Our duty as a publicly funded broadcaster is to inform, educate, and entertain every citizen. But there are many people in this country that we are not serving well enough.

“I believe that we have a vital role to play locally, nationally and internationally.

“In fact, we are fundamental to contributing to a healthy democracy in the UK and around the world. If we adapt we can continue to be the most important news organisation in the world.”

Proposed changes

As part of the reorganisation, and having carefully considered the audience data, the BBC is also proposing to make the following changes to its output:

  • As confirmed last week, the Victoria Derbyshire programme on television will close later this year. The Beeb said it will continue to produce the kind of journalism the show has been making, but it is no longer cost-effective to produce for TV
  • There will be a reduction in the number of films produced by Newsnight, which will lead to post closures. The programme will stay at the same length and timing and will continue to deliver high quality journalism on the day’s events and beyond.
  • There will be post closures at 5 live driven by the changing listening habits of the audience and demand for digital content
  • World Update on World Service English will be closed, alongside other schedule changes. This is in addition to the changes to Asian language services outlined last year
  • There will be a review of the number of presenters the BBC has and how they work.