The BBC is on pace to hit current savings targets – but is likely to have to go further and faster in the coming years, according to a new National Audit Office report.
Balancing the challenge of a falling audience share and dwindling licence numbers, the BBC is undertaking a five-year programme to deliver targeted savings of just over £1bn a year by 2021-22.
This will start once the BBC finishes its negotiations with the government on the level of the licence fee from 2022-23.
The broadcaster is expected to exceed its original savings target of £800m a year by 2021-22 and is largely on track to meet its increased target of £1bn a year.
It increased this target due to the estimated financial impact of the pandemic and its decision to continue to offer free licences to some over-75s.
The NAO said to maximise delivery of savings, the BBC must improve the information it collects on the impact of its savings measures.
Indeed, the independent parliamentary body found that some divisions are implementing measures without using complete data.
Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO, said: “Over the coming years it will need to make significant further savings at the same time as addressing a range of other challenges, not least its declining audience share.
“The BBC must ensure its savings plans do not further erode its position with audiences.”
A BBC spokesperson told City A.M.: “The NAO report concludes the BBC has made nearly £1bn in savings over the last 5 years – significantly higher than our initial £800m target – and continues to be the UK’s most-used media organisation.”
“We will continue to focus on modernising, improving efficiency and prioritising spending on a range of high quality content to ensure value for money for all licence fee payers.”