In what is being described as the most radical overhaul of the BBC in its nine-decade history, the corporation’s director-general Lord Tony Hall is set to announce the abolition of both the TV and radio divisions in a speech he is due to give sometime before Easter.
The development was revealed by The Daily Telegraph, and comes at a crucial time for the BBC. To date, the UK’s public broadcaster has been fundamentally channel-led, but this restructuring will be the organization’s biggest move yet towards becoming more “content” and “audience” focused–with both buzzwords set to be key to the BBC’s new way of thinking.
Under the rumoured new proposals, the corporation will be reorganized into snappily-named new divisions, with BBC Entertain dealing with all aspects of the corporation’s entertainment output encompassing prime-time TV programming and the adult-contemporary BBC Radio 2–long the most-popular radio station in the UK, among others. A sub-division of Entertain will be BBC Youth, which will include the hugely popular BBC Radio 1 and TV channel BBC Three, the latter having recently made the controversial move of becoming an Internet-only channel.
The BBC has long been subject to considerable pressure from both the British public and government due to its unique make-up and method of funding. The corporation is largely funded by the TV Licence–a £145 annual charge payable by anyone watching live TV in the UK–and as a result is often under fire when it comes to budgeting and output, especially in the wake of public-sector funding cuts across all aspects of British society. Creating a “leaner, fitter BBC” was originally the aim of former director-general John Birt, and recent developments have included the dropping of various major sports rights, the disposal of the BBC’s iconic Television Centre, and the removal of various senior management positions, such as director of television Danny Cohen, and disgraced creative director Alan Yentob.
For now, the BBC’s various stations and varied output will remain unaffected, but it’s certainly an uncertain and potentially interesting time for one of the world’s leading broadcasters.