BBC Ups Savings Target in New Annual Report


The BBC has released its Annual Plan for 2023/24, setting new targets for cost-savings that includes cutting 1,000 hours in content commissions annually.

The British pubcaster is heading into its second year since the freezing of the license fee in January 2022, with the next increase set for 2023/24. “While we recognize the license fee is a privilege, this settlement continues to place significant financial challenges on the BBC at a time of high inflation and media super-inflation,” the annual report notes.

The organization had originally set a cost-savings target of £285 million annually by the end of the Charter in 27/28. That has now been increased to £400 million. As such, the BBC will cut 1,000 hours on content commissions annually; shift several World Service TV and radio broadcast services to digital; create a single BBC News channel operation with separate feeds for the U.K. and international; and increase funding for digital news, investigative journalism and high-impact content across the U.K.; while looking for other efficiencies. There will be an additional £50 million investment a year in accelerating its digital services per year by 2025/26. BBC Studios is in the first year of an “ambitious five-year growth plan,” the report says, with plans to increase commercial income in the long term.

The license fee is expected to bring in £3.7 billion in 23/24, with £1.8 billion in additional income. Operating and restructuring costs are expected to be £5.8 billion, resulting in a deficit of £352 million.

Richard Sharp, chairman of the BBC, noted: “The BBC’s performance in delivering against its strategic priorities has been outstanding, particularly in such a challenging financial setting and against a backdrop of increased competition. This plan sets out how we will best serve all audiences by making the most of our resources in the coming year.”

Tim Davie, director-general, added: “Our plans outline an ambitious year of creative excellence from the BBC, with trusted news and high-quality content to provide the best value for all audiences. This year we will bring people together like no other organization can with the Coronation and Eurovision amongst the highlights.”