The BBC management has announced this Wednesday that it is temporarily suspending its workforce reduction plans, which extended until 2022 and contemplated the firing of 450 professionals, given the informational challenge posed by the coronavirus crisis. “You must continue with the brilliant work you are doing,” said the company’s CEO, Tony Hall, to the entity’s employees. “It would not be the right thing. We do not have the resources to carry out these plans at the moment, so we will return to them later. Now I just want to ensure that you receive all the support and that you have all the resources to continue with a job that you are doing in a wonderful way. ” Hall recently announced that he was leaving his position prematurely, so that someone else would be responsible for managing the new stage. The government has already opened a process of substitution, and the substitute will have to face in 2022, just on the BBC’s centenary, the revision of the current budget mandate, which culminates in 2027.
The lack of audiences, and the competition of new offers such as those proposed by content platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, have forced the BBC to drastically review its budget. The threat of the new conservative government of Boris Johnson to end the license system that finances the chain – the legal obligation of all users to pay about 170 euros per year – has alerted the directors of the entity. Without advertising resources, this income is essential for programming to go ahead. The plans presented represented a saving of almost 90 million euros, and involved not only the reduction of personnel but the disappearance or reduction of emblematic programs and networks such as Newsnight, Radio 5 or the international news service.
The BBC has been at the forefront of information on everything related to the coronavirus crisis, and has removed from the programming daily or weekly spaces such as Politics Live, or the morning program of Victoria Derbyshire. Several of its stations have shared the newsletters with the latest data in joint service.
One of the most controversial decisions in recent weeks has been to stop offering its free service to users over the age of 75. Despite the economic logic of the decision – many of these people are large consumers of conventional television and have pensions higher than the country’s average salary – it ended up being a political bomb that was difficult to justify. The coronavirus crisis has been the perfect argument to reverse the decision. For the time being, the immediate future of workers is guaranteed and older people will continue without having to pay for the service of one of the UK’s most revered institutions.