Television

BBC makes first round of major savings in professional services

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MUMBAI: The BBC has announced that the first round of plans to transform the organisation will release ?139 million a year by 2008 to reinvest in to programmes. The savings are a part of BBC DG Mark Thompson's vision to ensure the BBC can meet rapidly changing audience expectations by developing a bold content strategy, transforming itself into a state-of-the-art digital broadcaster and becoming much simpler in its operations and business processes.     

The first changes have come from the BBC's Professional Services which include: Strategy & Distribution; Policy & Legal; Finance, Property and Business Affairs; BBC People (HR) and Marketing, Communications & Audiences. There will be a 46 per cent reduction in headcount. 980 people will be looking for a job. Some reductions will happen through staff turnover, others through redundancy and 750 posts will be outsourced. Thompson has told BBC's senior staff that the BBC Governors had endorsed the plans but would consider these and further savings plans from the content and output divisions as a whole at their meeting next week before giving final approvals.

Overall, costs savings across the BBC are higher than anticipated at ?355m, compared to the ?320 million target. Thompson said: "In December I talked about the creative prize for the BBC and our audiences ? but the cost is nothing short of transformation. We have made a strong start, showing we are serious about change and ensuring we are maximising the value of our income for audiences' benefit. We need to make the BBC a simpler, more agile operation, ready to take the creative lead in a very different, very challenging digital future."

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