Job cuts, celebrity pay and further savings: What we learned from the BBC annual report

 
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The BBC today published its annual report for 2015/16 (Source: Getty)

The BBC today published its annual review for 2015/16. Here are some of the things we have learned from the report.

Job cuts might not cut it

During a year in which cost savings at the BBC came under close scrutiny, as the government prepared its white paper for its next royal charter period, the corporation managed to cut 54 jobs from its headcount.

However, the 18,920 figure for 2015/16 is greater than the 18,647 that were employed in 2013/14.

The BBC said it had closed 437 posts during 2015/16, but other jobs were created.

The report said: “We are committed to controlling the level of our workforce and ensuring value for money across the BBC.”

Read more: Was the government wrong to avoid radical reform of the licence fee?

Executive/ talent pay

The BBC said it had cut its UK senior manager headcount from 401 to 356, with a bill of £47m.

It cut its “talent” – a definition that includes stars such as Chris Evans, Graham Norton and Gary Lineker – pay from £208.4m to £200m.

The report said: “We remain committed to keeping spend on on-screen and on-air talent to no more than 15 per cent of overall internal spend on content (with a one per cent tolerance).”

Future savings

The BBC said it is on track to deliver £700m of annual savings by 2016/17, with the focus of the savings on people, property and procurement.

The report said: “The Delivering Quality First savings programme delivered £621m sustainable savings by 31 March 2016. The programme remains on track to deliver an annual total of £700m in annual recurrent savings by 31 March 2017.”

BBC Trust: More risks, please

Governing body the BBC Trust said those watching the BBC are “increasingly rating it as ‘fresh and new’”.

But it added: “There remains a performance gap in the public’s broader view of the BBC in this respect and qualitative research we undertook for Charter Review suggests that there is still a public appetite for the BBC to take more risks in its programming and offer more original and innovative content.

“With the closure of BBC Three as a linear channel, which had a strong track record in creative risk-taking and innovation, we strengthened the regulatory requirements on BBC One and Two in this area.”

Statistics

The annual review reported:

  • 96 per cent of UK adults used BBC services – on TV, radio or online – in 2015/16, down from 97 per cent last year
  • 246m people accessed the BBC World Service
  • 65 per cent of UK adults listened to BBC Radio, but the time spent doing so is reducing

Read more: Government stops short of "castrating" BBC with white paper

What the BBC said

Director general Tony Hall:

This year we’ve had some wonderful successes on-air with programmes like War and Peace, The Great British Bake Off, BBC Music Day, The Night Manager and our news coverage of the General Election. Off air we’ve made progress in making the BBC a simpler and leaner organisation that focuses more of our spend on making content. Next year I want us to go further and build on the stability a new charter gives us to serve the whole of the UK with programmes that are distinctive, innovative and trusted.

BBC Trust chair Rona Fairhead:

This year, the BBC has delighted, engaged and informed audiences with high quality and distinctive content, while continuing to drive down costs, although reaching younger audiences and those in all the UK’s nations remains an important challenge. The public have been clear they want a strong, independent BBC and they have no appetite for fundamental changes to it; their views must be reflected as the new Charter is finalised, and the new BBC board must ensure that the public’s voice continues to be at the heart of decisions.

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