BBC director general Tim Davie has said that the freezing of TV licence fees will cost the broadcaster £285million.
Davie said the new settlement, set to stop the cost of licence fees increasing for the next two years, “will affect our frontline output” and prompt cuts across services and content.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said of the decision yesterday (January 17): “The BBC must support people at a time when their finances are strained, make savings and efficiencies, and use the billions in public funding it receives to deliver for viewers, listeners and users.”
“Inevitably, if you don’t have £285million, you will get less services and less programmes,” Davie subsequently told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday (January 18).
“Now, I still think the BBC can offer extraordinary value for £13 a month.”
Regarding potential cuts to accommodate for a stagnating licence fee until 2024, Davie continued: “We go first to those cuts where we don’t affect our output…We are not at the place where you can never make cuts, but this will affect our frontline output. There’s no doubt about that.”
He went on to acknowledge the BBC “[needs] to reshape ourselves for a digital age”.
“The media market is moving extremely rapidly,” he added. “I’m excited about re-engineering the BBC. I think we’re in a good place. We had an excellent Christmas, iPlayer is doing brilliant business for us in terms of the numbers we’re getting through to our digital services.
“So we’re not just going to put aspic around linear services or say we’re going to keep doing exactly the same thing. We need to reshape the business.”
It was also announced recently that the BBC licence fee would be abolished in 2027, with a new funding model needed to be established by whoever is in power at that time.