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Five slashes budget by a quarter

Terrestrial TV broadcaster Five has slashed its programming budget by 25 per cent in a reaction to the slide in advertising. In what is to be the biggest reduction of any big British station, Five has cut the budget by £55m to £165m this year. Dawn Airey, the executive chairman, said yesterday that consolidation among broadcasters was needed because the market was too crowded to sustain all of them. She said: “Everybody is talking to everybody. On the one hand you could almost argue for all the commercial broadcasters coming together in some way.”