BBC Sets Aside £100m for Restructuring

10 December 2004

Britain's state-owned media conglomerate, the BBC, revealed Wednesday it plans to take a restructuring charge of £100 million ($191.8m; €144.5m) for the upheaval planned by its new helmsmen - chairman Michael Grade and director general Mark Thompson [WAMN: 06-Dec-04].

In its sacrifice to the gods (aka the Blair administration), the monolithic corporation will offer 2,900 jobs, a selloff of its peripheral commercial operations, and the transfer of some 1,800 staff in six departments to Britain's second city, Manchester, in 2009.

This, Thompson assured his 27,000 staff in an internal broadcast, would create "a stronger BBC with wider, richer services and programmes".

He conceded that "considerable pain and disruption" will be caused by the organisation's quest to remain "perhaps the greatest force for cultural good on the face of the earth".

Savings from the mega-revamp will be ploughed back into public service programming, interactive services, and digital radio and TV.

Staff unions fear the BBC has been economical with the truth as to the number of doomed jobs. The final figure, they say, is likely to be double the 2,900 announced and strike ballots could not be ruled out.

The BBC promised to consult with the unions on the upcoming turmoil.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff