BBC to lay off hundreds of employees
LONDON: Hundreds of BBC employees are all set to receive pink slips, for the news broadcasting organisation is going to slash hundreds of online jobs as part of swingeing cuts which will halve the size of its website operations.
A number of popular gardening, cookery and lifestyle websites will be axed or dramatically scaled back in economy measures the corporation will announce Monday, Daily Mail reported Saturday. Earlier this year, the BBC's outgoing technology chief, Erik Huggers , had revealed that the corporation would have to lose at least half of its 400 websites by 2012. BBC Online's 126.7 million-pound annual budget and 1,600 staff will also be slashed by a quarter.
The cuts come following last year's strategy review and after years of concern from commercial rivals about the growing dominance of BBC Online and its 'creeping' into areas which have nothing to do with its core public service remit.
Among the websites to have closed already or expected to shut are Street Doctor, Key Skills, Film Festival, Strictly Dance Fever, Celebdaq, Sportdaq and The Last Millionaire. Instead of having costly individual websites for shows, they will now be grouped on a generic site. The BBC will also attempt to make itself friendlier to rivals by providing links to other media websites. "This will directly address the concerns of creep and also concerns that the BBC has become too big. It is about addressing the size and scale of the operation," said an insider.
The job losses risk further industrial action from unions following last year's 48-hour walkout over changes to BBC pensions. Earlier this week, Richard Deverell , chief operating officer of BBC North, suggested BBC One or Two could move to the corporation's new centre, Salford Quays, by 2015.
The move, which he insisted was 'no more than a guess', could mean hundreds of extra BBC jobs moving to Salford beyond the 2,300 already announced.
In 2009, it was revealed that the corporation paid its staff 17.5 million pounds in bonuses as Britain suffered its worst economic crisis for a generation. The payments to 9,777 of the BBC's near 21,000 staff also coincided with hundreds of job cuts and budgets being squeezed on many of its shows.