BBC to cut 1,000 jobs and merge tech teams due to low licence fees

The BBC will cut jobs and merge its technology teams in an effort to save funds after a drop in licence fees as fewer people watch live TV

The BBC has suffered a drop in licence fee funds as viewing habits change, leading to a £150m gap in its budget and job cuts as a result, the broadcaster has announced.

Cuts include restructuring of the organisation that will take place to make it “simpler” to continue its effort to save approximately £50m, in addition to the £1.5bn savings it is making elsewhere.

“We’ve taken a good look at the structures across the BBC. In some places there are 10 layers between the top and the bottom of the organisation. I think that’s too many and in future we’ll work to a maximum of seven,” said BBC director general Tony Hall in a letter to staff.

“I said I wanted a simpler organisation. It’s what many of you have told me too – and it requires a different approach."

A majority of the cuts will come from professional and support areas, and the firm also hopes to “streamline” its management structures. As part of the restructuring, three of the BBC’s technical teams, including the technology, engineering and digital teams, will merge.

Earlier in 2015 the orgnisation announced its technology department, BBC engineering, would be restructured to promote a partnership with other BBC departments and make further savings.

“We’re looking at the number of divisions we need. As a first step, I’ve asked Ralph Rivera, Matthew Postgate and David Gibbons to bring together our teams in technology, engineering and digital,” Hall said.

“It’s just a start and, over the next few months, I’ll be working with our directors to see what more we can do.”

The BBC has already been working on cutting costs, but has been hit by an unexpected drop in the number of people paying for a TV licence - one million fewer than predicted -  as viewers increasingly turn to internet services such as Netflix and YouTube. 

Fewer households are paying their licence fee as many of the younger generation are ditching watching live TV in favour of watching streaming or catch-up services.

The BBC itself has been adapting to the new digital consumer by working on the iPlayer service and its online offering and promoting the need for a new digital workforce in the future.

Read more about the BBC

  • BBC News has announced a restructure where it will invest more into digital transformation and original journalism
  • The BBC has undergone a digital transformation that started 18 months prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games

Read more on IT for media and entertainment industry