February 15, 2016

Ahead of a reorganization expected to trim more than $700 million from its budget, The BBC will reportedly merge its radio and TV divisions in a bid to streamline its management ranks.

The move will reportedly be announced by BBC Director-General Tony Hall in a speech before Easter that will touch on plans to “axe the corporation’s existing channel-based structures, fundamentally reshaping the organization into content and audience-led divisions,” according to The Telegraph.

Droves of management jobs are expected to be on the chopping block as the British broadcaster seeks to slash more than 1,000 positions across its international operation, according to The Guardian. Marketing and communications jobs are also at risk, and its technical and engineering teams are also slated for consolidation.

For the BBC, the cuts represent an attempt to cut administrative bloat that has accumulated over the years as the broadcaster rode high on revenue from TV licenses and taxpayer funding, said Rick Edmonds, Poynter’s media business analyst.

“This is mostly about stripping out outdated management and executive jobs,” Edmonds said. “It’s not clear how it will impact staffing of TV, radio and digital journalism activities.”

These cuts follow an announcement from Britain’s conservative government that it would reduce funding for the BBC.

Although the management structure for the TV and radio divisions is in jeopardy, the BBC is “committed to the keeping its television channels and radio stations on the airwaves,” according to The Telegraph.

The BBC’s contraction fits into a broader pattern of media consolidation also seen in the United States. As traditional revenue streams run dry, news organizations are striking out into new ventures and pruning redundancies where they can.

Edmonds cautions against drawing too close a connection between the BBC’s austerity strategy and the strategies of American news organizations, however. The BBC’s subsidy and its ties to Britain’s government resist easy comparisons to broadcasters in the United States.

“While they’re a gigantic news operation, it’s difficult to compare them to other media companies,” Edmonds said.

Correction: This original headline for this said the BBC is reportedly closing its TV and radio divisions. While those divisions will reportedly be merged and cease to exist as separate entities, their programming is slated to remain intact.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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