BBC Puts Hundreds Of Jobs On The Chopping Block In Push To Go Digital

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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BBC World Service recently cut hundreds of jobs and radio services in an effort to switch to a digital platform.

The international broadcast network, which is owned by BBC, are slashing a net total of 382 jobs “to create a ‘modern, digital-led and streamlined organisation'” BBC News reported.

The network plans to make nearly half of their 41 foreign-language services completely digital “to ‘increase impact with audiences,'” they announced Thursday, according to the outlet. Chinese, Gujarati, Igbo, Indonesian, Pidgin, Urdu, and Yoruba are set to become online-only language services, the outlet reported. No language services are permanently closing.

Some TV and radio broadcasts will end operations, however, the outlet reported. Radio broadcasts in 10 languages including Chinese, Arabic, Bengali and Persian, Hindi and Urdu will be canceled, according to the outlet. These changes come as the network is trying to make £28.5 million in annual savings for its international services.

This follows a previous announcement by former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries that the BBC license fee would stand at £159 ($173) per year for the next two years and rise in line with inflation, according to the BBC. The network said they would need to secure £285 million in annual savings by 2027-28 due to a licensing fee settlement made with the British government, who funds the BBC, according to The Hollywood Reporter. (RELATED: BBC One Suspends All Programming Until 6 P.M. Following Reports Of The Queen’s Health) 

“High inflation, soaring costs and a cash-flat license fee settlement have led to tough choices across the BBC,” the broadcaster said Thursday. “The proposals will see seven more language services moving to digital-only, modeling the success of others which are already offering purely digital services and performing well with audiences. This means that nearly half of all 41 language services will be digital only.”

Liliane Landor, the World Service director, said the network’s role of connecting to nations with less access to news is essential and vowed that the network will continue those efforts, the BBC reported.

“The role of the BBC has never been more crucial worldwide. The BBC is trusted by hundreds of millions of people for fair and impartial news, especially in countries where this is in short supply,” she said. “We help people in times of crisis. We will continue to bring the best journalism to audiences in English and more than 40 languages, as well as increasing the impact and influence of our journalism by making our stories go further.”

The network plans to move production outside of Britain and relocate to foreign countries to draw more engagement globally, BBC News reported. It plans to create a China unit in London, establishing services in more foreign nations, and creating more audio capability in Arabic and Persian nations.

World Service English is also working to invest in a new podcast targeting younger audiences around the globe, BBC News reported.

Nicole Silverio

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