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July 24, 2014

BBC cutbacks are imminent, but not where you might think

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 20th 2009 3:05PM
BBC logoIt's easy to forget in these troubling times that America isn't the only country that's feeling the tight, constricting pinch from the claw of the economic lobster.

This is a GLOBAL economic meltdown. Everyone is feeling that pinch and looking forward to the day when they can grab that lobster by the antennae, throw it in a boiling pot of water, rip off the tail, sprinkle it with butter, pepper and herbs and serve it in a roll with a side of waffle fries. Damn I'm so broke and hungry.

The British Broadcasting Corporation, however, has an interesting way of dealing with their economic problems. Instead of trimming at the bottom, they are aiming their gardening shears squarely towards the top.

BBC officials announced plans to cut almost $583 million out of their budgets by freezing the pay of their executives and cutting fees from some of the bigger stars on their payroll. Wow, a struggling company is cutting the salaries... of their executives? I wonder what happens when they start announcing layoffs. Do they give members of Parliament pink slips?

Of course, the BBC isn't funded the way NBC, ABC or CBS is here in the States. The BBC is a public broadcasting company (except more entertaining and with actual viewers) that depends on housing growth to keep their bank accounts solid. Viewers pay a licensing fee to fund the network and right now, housing in the U.K. has reached lower depths than an Oakland Raiders fan's threshold for maintaining his public dignity.

The network is also teaming up with some of their rival networks like Channel 4 and ITV to share their resources to prevent anyone from going under completely. Does this mean our favorite BBC America shows are going to start cross-breeding? Will mutated dinosaurs from the set of Primeval race around Gambon in a Chevrolet Lacetti for a chance to suck less than Terry Wogen? Will Graham Norton be willing to travel through time with David Tennant in a cramped police box? (I believe the answer is an emphatic yes, followed by screaming, cheering and throwing his hat in the air Mary Tyler Moore style.)

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conrad.jd

I would be another one to sign up in a heartbeat for a BBC channel as a pay station.

March 21 2009 at 12:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mark perna

Forget BBC America which is second run, frequently edited BBC. BBC should offer BBC 1 (and/or 2 and 3) as pay stations in America like HBO or Showtime. That would probably solve their financial problems and they could likely reduce their UK licensing fees. I'd sign up in a heartbeat and I know a lot of other people that would as well. ITV should do the same thing.

March 20 2009 at 5:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mark perna's comment
Jitaroo

The problem with that is the time difference though.

March 21 2009 at 1:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mark perna

I have a DVR. Their shows air 5 or 6 hours ahead of the east coast of the US (depending on Daylight Savings Time). I could imagine, recording some great BBC stuff at 3 in the afternoon and having it ready for me when I get home from work. It won't even compete with American TV. I don't see any kind of a downside.

March 21 2009 at 9:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JD

The only thing I could remember was living there over 20yrs ago and not paying the tax and watching out for the "TV truck" on certain days.

March 20 2009 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BC McKinney

BBC America HD was supposed to be launched in late 2008, but it wasn't, and I haven't been able to find any info later than summer 2008. I suspect this is another cost-cutting measure and hope that it will eventually appear when finances improve.

March 20 2009 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MrC

BBC License fee is not based on things such as housing prices/etc. Maybe some forms of BBC funding are (I don't know if they get anything from, for example, VAT (sales) or property taxes)

But according to Aunie Beeb herself:
The annual cost of a colour TV licence (set by the Government) is currently £139.50. That works out at less than £12 per month - about 38p per day for each household.

A black and white TV licence is £47.

March 20 2009 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to MrC's comment
JD

Most don't have a B&W TV, and that tax is for every TV in the house. IIRC.

March 20 2009 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
laura clarke

The license fee is one per household not per tv and thats less than £140 a year for one the the worlds best broadcasting services

March 20 2009 at 4:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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