BBC promises more ‘programming from the nations’ and less from London as part of digital-first shift
The BBC has promised “bigger investment in programming from the nations” and less from London as part of a cost-cutting shift away from broadcast and to on-demand digital audiences.
BBC Director-General Tim Davie said that although “broadcast channels will be essential for years to come” the publicly-funded corporation would now move “decisively to a largely on-demand world”.
In a speech to staff he added that as part of that shift to digital content would involve producing more across Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and less in London.
“Beyond news we’ll continue to transform our portrayal of different parts of the UK, fully delivering ‘Across The UK’ plans, and spending more in the devolved nations and outside London,” he said.
“Our goal is bigger, even more ambitious shows – keeping a very strong sense of locality but also able to work beyond borders.
“When it comes to our local and regional offer, which is utterly critical to the BBC, we’re going to maintain our overall investment in content, and our support for the Local Democracy Reporting Service, despite our funding challenges.
“But we will reshape our local services to be fit for the digital world – increasing the impact of our journalism online, and putting compelling local storytelling at the heart of iPlayer, Sounds and News, with a multimedia BBC presence in over 40 towns and cities.”
The changes were also driven by a ned to save money, with the first phase representing £500m of annual savings and reinvestment, they said.
Overall, there will be up to 1,000 fewer people employed in the public-funded part of the BBC over the next few years.
Director-General Tim Davie told staff: “When I took this job I said that we needed to fight for something important: public service content and services, freely available universally, for the good of all.
“This fight is intensifying, the stakes are high.”
Speaking to staff, Mr Davie said: “This is our moment to build a digital-first BBC. Something genuinely new, a Reithian organisation for the digital age, a positive force for the UK and the world.
“Independent, impartial, constantly innovating and serving all. A fresh, new, global digital media organisation which has never been seen before.
“Driven by the desire to make life and society better for our licence fee payers and customers in every corner of the UK and beyond. They want us to keep the BBC relevant and fight for something that in 2022 is more important than ever.
“To do that we need to evolve faster and embrace the huge shifts in the market around us.”
Work will start immediately, with further details to be announced in the coming months, including consultations with staff, the BBC said.
Mr Davie added: “I believe in a public service BBC for all, properly funded, relevant for everyone, universally available, and growing in the on-demand age. This plan sets us on that journey.”
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