BBC cuts 2500 positions and reorganizes for digital era

The BCC, Britain’s public broadcasting service, announced last week that it will cut 2500 jobs and make 10 percent fewer shows by 2013. At the same time, the BBC will merge its television, radio and Internet news operations to operate in the digital era.

“Media is transforming, audiences are transforming,” BBC director general Mark Thompson told the staff. “I care too much to see [the BBC] drift steadily into irrelevance. It would be easy to say that the sheer pace of this revolution is too fast for the BBC ... but I think we can see both here and around the world the price you pay for taking what looks like the safe option.”

Funded by the British public with a $6.1 billion budget to “inform, educate and entertain,” the BCC said 2500 jobs will go, but new ones will be created to realign for providing digital content to its audience. That means overall that about 1800 will lose their jobs. The job cuts represent about 8 percent of the BBC’s 23,000 workers.

News operations will be hit hardest — following almost 4000 job cuts announced in 2005. Reports said the BBC plans to transform the way news is gathered by ending the system of journalists from radio, television, News 24 and online all covering the same story backed by their own producers, technical and planning staff. They will be required, where possible, to work across all three media to reduce duplication.

Staff morale at the BBC is reportedly low. Unions representing BBC workers have warned that a strike within weeks is inevitable if the cuts are made, the “London Telegraph” reported.

A senior broadcaster, who declined to be named, predicted to the “Telegraph” there will be a furious response from even the most moderate BBC employees. “There will be a strike. That is definite,” he said. “Some big programs will go off the air.”

A senior BBC journalist told the “Telegraph” that “it’s going to be a bloodbath and strike action is certain. People who have been at the BBC for years are going to lose their jobs, which will really stir up the militant feeling pervading the organization.”