What's Up At The BBC?

sherbetbizarre

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#1
BBC signals an end to era of expansion

The BBC will close two radio stations, shut half its website and cut spending heavily on imported American programmes in an overhaul of services to be announced next month.

Mark Thompson, the Director-General, will admit that the corporation, which is funded by the £3.6 billion annual licence fee, has become too large and must shrink to give its commercial rivals room to operate.

In a wideranging strategic review, he will announce the closure of the digital radio stations 6 Music and Asian Network and introduce a cap on spending on broadcast rights for sports events of 8.5 per cent of the licence fee, or about £300 million.

He will also pledge to close BBC Switch and Blast!, leaving the lucrative teenage market to ITV and Channel 4. But BBC Three, which is aimed at 16 to 35-year-olds will not be touched.

The report is being considered by the corporation’s governing body, the BBC Trust, and is due to be made public next month.

It was drawn up by the corporation’s director of policy and strategy, John Tate, a former head of the Conservative policy unit, who co-wrote the party’s 2005 manifesto with David Cameron. It will be seen as an attempt to show a potential Tory government that the BBC understands the effect the deep advertising recession has had on commercial rivals and that it does not need outside intervention to get its house in order.

The proposals, which involve £600 million being redirected into higher-quality content, are based on the assumption that the licence fee will be frozen in 2013. All of the changes will be funded by closures and cutbacks in other services.

As part of a pledge to focus on quality over quantity, Mr Thompson will boost the BBC Two budget by £25 million and give the station a mandate to go upmarket. This will be funded by 25 per cent reduction in the corporation’s budget of £100 million for foreign acquisitions such as Mad Men and Heroes. BBC Trust sources said, however, that they would try to push the Director-General to a 33 per cent cut in the import budget.

The proposals appear to be calibrated to appease the BBC’s rivals in various markets. Broadcasters such as ITV and Channel 4 will be heartened by the corporation’s pledge to reduce teen programming and to scale back on its bidding for hit American shows.

The corporation’s web pages are to be halved, backed by a 25 per cent cut in staff numbers. Its £112 million budget will also be cut by 25 per cent. It is also pledging to include more links to newspaper articles to drive traffic to the websites of rival publishers.

The BBC will also try to calm the nerves of local newspaper groups — who are suspicious of the corporation after its aborted plans to develop video-driven local websites — with a pledge not ever to produce services at a “more local” level than is currently the case.

Its commercial subsidiary BBC Worldwide will be ordered to focus its activities overseas and dispose of its British magazines arm. This puts the future of publications such as Radio Times and Top Gear in doubt. It is not clear whether Worldwide would sell off its magazines division or instead put titles out to tender for rival publishers to produce.

With the closure of 6 Music, which has an average listener age of 35, and an undertaking to bring more documentaries and comedy to Radio 2, the BBC will also pledge to allow commercial stations to be the main providers of popular music to listeners aged 30 to 50. There will be complaints about the decision to cull 6 Music, which has a small but fervent fan base. Music industry tastemakers revere it as a credible outlet for “real music” but a review last month showed that only 20 per cent of adults knew that the station existed.
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/media/article7041944.ece
 

Yithian

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#3
Wow. Some surprising and positive moves in there.

Less, better: precisely what I've been calling for.
 

McAvennie

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#4
Personally I'd not touch the website. BBC online is probably one of the better things they produce.

Myriad Radio stations I'm not too fussed about, sending half of BBC Sport to every event and spunking million pound deals on buffoons like Ross and Norton etc... is what I object to.

The whole relocation of BBC Sport to Manchester was an epic waste of time and money as well which I wholly disagree with.
 
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#5
theyithian said:
Wow. Some surprising and positive moves in there.

Less, better: precisely what I've been calling for.
The BBC has its wings clipped. Hardly a positive move, however you look at it.

Unless you're Murdoch. :(
 

GNC

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#6
Closing 6 Music? Nooo! One less music radio station without ads? Terrible idea. I was really looking forward to the return of Adam and Joe, too, what am I supposed to listen to on Saturday mornings now? What's so brilliant about commercial radio anyway? Not bloody much, that's what.
 

Yithian

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#7
£600 million being redirected into higher-quality content,
a pledge to focus on quality over quantity
Mr Thompson will boost the BBC Two budget by £25 million and give the station a mandate to go upmarket. This will be funded by 25 per cent reduction in the corporation’s budget of £100 million for foreign acquisitions such as Mad Men and Heroes.
All good.

I've actually seen this one, and enjoyable as it was, I say leave Heroes to Ch4 and cable; focus on quality original programming. I've watched a few BBC classics lately on DVD: Civilisation, I Claudius, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Blue Planet, Fawlty Towers: more of this, less reality TV, dreadful sitcoms, overpriced celebrities and home/antique/garden/face/life makeovers. Don't let the fate of ITV overtake them: from The World At War, Brideshead Revisited and Morse and To The Ant & Dec-24hr-Reality-Arse-Party-Channel. Almost zero culture/commentary/art/current affairs. If the licence fee is to continue, the BBC should start fullfilling a public service. It needn't be sterile, but neither should it devote itself to bread and circuses.
 

GNC

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#8
This is all very well as long as it's not stuff you like being axed. There's some damn good stuff on 6 Music and Mad Men is one of the best shows on TV. Who is going to show it a reasonable hour now, if not BBC Four?
 

Mythopoeika

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#9
theyithian said:
£600 million being redirected into higher-quality content,
a pledge to focus on quality over quantity
Mr Thompson will boost the BBC Two budget by £25 million and give the station a mandate to go upmarket. This will be funded by 25 per cent reduction in the corporation’s budget of £100 million for foreign acquisitions such as Mad Men and Heroes.
All good.

I've actually seen this one, and enjoyable as it was, I say leave Heroes to Ch4 and cable; focus on quality original programming. I've watched a few BBC classics lately on DVD: Civilisation, I Claudius, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Blue Planet, Faulty Towers: more of this, less reality tv, dreadful sitcoms, overpriced celebrities and home/antique/garden/face/life makeovers. Don't let the fate of ITV overtake them: from The World At War, Brideshead Revisited and Morse and To The Ant & Dec-24hr-Reality-Arse-Party-Channel. Almost zero culture/commentary/art/current affairs. If the licence fee is to continue, the BBC should start fullfilling a public service. It needn't be sterile, but neither should is devote itself to bread and circuses.
I couldn't agree more!
 

GNC

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#10
An article in the paper today says that these cuts are a pre-emptive strike by the BBC on themselves because they expect the Tories to win the next election and David Cameron is so far up the Murdoch press's collective arse that he and his cronies are likely to demand something even more drastic.

The DJs on 6 Music sounded pretty resigned to this today, apart from Jon Holmes who sounded as pissed off as he could be without actually being able to say why. I don't see how turning the BBC inferior is good for competition, unless competition in this case means make the state broadcaster worse than everyone else.

The revamp sounds dangerously like elitism, sure to go over well with the public as history has shown.
 

Dr_Baltar

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#11
gncxx said:
Mad Men is one of the best shows on TV.
Couldn't agree more. If Mad Men doesn't represent upmarket, intelligent, high-quality programming (even if it is an import), I'm not sure what does.
 

Anome

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#12
Bound to be axed soon.

Except it is cable, and it's got a lot of sex to distract people from any intelligence that might wander in to the script.

(Sorry, I'm just still bitter about Dollhouse and Better Off Ted being axed. I do hope they don't axe Mad Men, even though I'm a season or so behind.)
 

linesmachine

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#14
I agree about the BBC website, it's an excellent site, I even use it as my homepage as it's updated regularly and gives a fair spread of the news. I also like the radio web pages and often listen to BBC radio 2 and 4 via them.

BBC radio 6 is an excellent station, it seems a shame to cut it but with on-demand so freely available now I wonder if they will have things like the Peel Sessions available.
 

GNC

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#15
linesmachine said:
BBC radio 6 is an excellent station, it seems a shame to cut it but with on-demand so freely available now I wonder if they will have things like the Peel Sessions available.
It would be a terrible shame, imagine the outrage if the BBC decided to cut their other dedicated music station, Radio 3? No other station would host The Freak Zone, for example, and that's an essential programme for me and many others.
 

GNC

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#16
Full story:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainmen ... 507286.stm

BBC Trust rejects 6 Music closure plan

The BBC Trust has rejected the BBC's plans to close the digital radio station 6 Music.

In his initial response to the BBC strategy review, BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons said that the case for the closure of 6 Music had not been made.

He said the trust - which represents the interests of licence fee payers - would consider closing 6 Music only as part of a wider strategy on the future of digital radio.

But the trust accepted plans to close the Asian Network, cut 25% of the online budget and close teen service Blast!

A high-profile campaign to save 6 Music was set up after a strategic review of the BBC's services was announced in March.

The planned closures identified in the review needed the approval of the BBC Trust...
Hooray! Some sense at last, 6 Music is more popular than ever with a million listeners now and I'm so glad the BBC Trust saw how needed it is.

Sorry about those other cuts and closures, though, surely the internet is an area the Beeb needs to strengthen?
 

Timble2

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#17
gncxx said:
....Sorry about those other cuts and closures, though, surely the internet is an area the Beeb needs to strengthen?
But it knows if it doesn't cut it voluntarily (and probably even if it does), Murdoch & Son want the BBC dismantled as the price for supporting the Tories, since they can't make money if there's strong, basically free competition.
 

Yithian

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#18
Classic Paxman. Entertaining mix:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0zNDhhP ... _embedded#

2:22: Paxman lets rip.
I'm sorry to bump my own post--I know it's a poor show--but I've just re-watched this Paxman piece when it came up in search results and the part where he lists the BBC 3 schedule for that evening to the BBC's director general is just comedy gold.

Thought somebody might enjoy it.
 

Gloucestrian

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#19
Not seen that before but the schedule is for BBC 4. The schedule is listed as:

The news
A repeat of a documentary
Skippy: Australia's first superstar (a repeat, no less)
Paws, Claws and Videotape (a clipshow about famous animals)
"a bought-in film"
Skippy: Australia's first superstar (again)
Paws, Claws and Videotape (repeated)
Storyville (a repeated documentary)
Paws, Claws and Videotape (repeated again but with subtitles)

Admittedly this sounds dire for the most part but personally I've found the Storyville documentary series to have some really interesting episodes. When I did watch the BBC's output, and I did in 2010, I generally watched it on catch-up (BBC iPlayer, online). This might be why the viewership figures are poor and of course repeating the same thing multiple times in one evening is likely to dilute the audience who want to watch that programme (though who wants to watch Paws, Claws and Videotape is beyond me).

Paxman was on good form but documentaries have lasting value and this particular interview had a touch of the populist notion of money being mis-spent if spent on minority interests. I do think the TV licence is an outdated idea in the age of Netflix etc. and personally haven't watched a programme "live" i.e. while it was being transmitted in more than a decade but if anything I think the budget of the BBC probably should be spent on minority interests - that is precisely what the commercial stations are unable to do.
 

Yithian

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#20
Admittedly this sounds dire for the most part but personally I've found the Storyville documentary series to have some really interesting episodes. When I did watch the BBC's output, and I did in 2010, I generally watched it on catch-up (BBC iPlayer, online). This might be why the viewership figures are poor and of course repeating the same thing multiple times in one evening is likely to dilute the audience who want to watch that programme (though who wants to watch Paws, Claws and Videotape is beyond me).

Paxman was on good form but documentaries have lasting value and this particular interview had a touch of the populist notion of money being mis-spent if spent on minority interests. I do think the TV licence is an outdated idea in the age of Netflix etc. and personally haven't watched a programme "live" i.e. while it was being transmitted in more than a decade but if anything I think the budget of the BBC probably should be spent on minority interests - that is precisely what the commercial stations are unable to do.
For context, I think at the time (eight years ago) the BBC were bargaining over the license fee and the various radio channels were suffering poor listenership figures--hence the attack angle.

(I think that was the context anyway)
 

INT21

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#21
Just got a call from down stairs. 'Come and sort this out, will you'.

My wife tried to watch an earlier episode of East Enders (I know, I can't see why either) via Iplayer, and it appears that one now has to register with the BBC and enter a code.
This ties my tv to my computer. And when I go to Iplayer my name is displayed on the tv screen.

So now the BBC is keeping track of who is watching what on their tv.

BBC = Big Brother Coming.

Anyone else had to do this yet ?

INT21.
 

Shady

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#24
I thought they were going to put a code on your tv licence for this reason
 

Mythopoeika

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#26
Just got a call from down stairs. 'Come and sort this out, will you'.

My wife tried to watch an earlier episode of East Enders (I know, I can't see why either) via Iplayer, and it appears that one now has to register with the BBC and enter a code.
This ties my tv to my computer. And when I go to Iplayer my name is displayed on the tv screen.

So now the BBC is keeping track of who is watching what on their tv.

BBC = Big Brother Coming.

Anyone else had to do this yet ?

INT21.
It's been like that for a while.
I don't watch anything made by the BBC, so I won't use this system. Ever.
 

INT21

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#27
Basically the tv gave an address you had to go to , bbc(something or other), and when you got there you have to register with the BBC. It is the usual email, password and user routine.
Then you have to enter a code that was displayed on the tv.

After this, your username appears on the tv , along with an option to add someone else, and you are finally in. just view as normal.
I don't know if I will have to enter the username every time I want to watch iplayer.

Maybe it is to cross check if you hold a tv license.
 

brownmane

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#28
Why is it that Brits have to have tv licenses?

I personally watch online and often can find almost anything. CBC is Canada's national tv broadcaster and I can watch recent episodes on its site with no sign in, but if I want access to earlier seasons, I have to sign up for a "free" account. This account sign in just appeared within last year.
 

INT21

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#30
..
Why is it that Brits have to have tv licenses?

Because the BBC was not funded by commercial enterprises (Advertising). They had to get the revenue from somewhere.

It's now £145.50 per year (if you renew it on line).
 
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