BBC Plans to Cut 1,000 Jobs Amid Funding Shortfall

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Photographer: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Photo

The British Broadcasting Corp. will axe more than 1,000 jobs by merging some divisions, cutting management and simplifying areas like marketing, human resources and IT.

The world’s biggest public broadcaster is in the midst of an overhaul to deliver more than 1.5 billion pounds ($2.3 billion) in savings a year by 2017 by cutting staff, closing some offices and sharing sports rights.

The BBC’s funding model, which generates 3.7 billion pounds a year by levying an annual license fee on U.K. households with televisions, is under pressure as it prepares to negotiate with the government on a renewal of its agreement to operate, the Royal Charter, which expires in 2017.

“A simpler, leaner, BBC is the right thing to do and it can also help us meet the financial challenges we face,” BBC Director-General Tony Hall said in an e-mail announcing the cuts on Thursday. He said the final decisions will be taken “in early autumn.”

The current license fee, which has been frozen for seven years, is 145.50 pounds for a color TV. Income from the fee will be 150 million pounds less in 2016-2017 as fewer people watch a household TV and instead rely on online streaming services such as Netflix and content over their mobile phones.

The BBC said it had already saved money by cutting administration and property costs, with more daytime repeats and shared sports rights. This week it confirmed plans to move the BBC Three TV channel online. Hall said the job cuts, merging divisions and cutting down management layers would save 50 million pounds.

John Whittingdale, who became culture secretary after the Conservative Party’s victory in the May election, has previously questioned the long-term viability of the license fee.

The BBC has about 18,000 staff, so about 5 percent of its workforce will be cut.

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