A place for me to moan about things and a place for you to moan about my moaning.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Are the BBC World Service Cuts Really Necessary?

I listen to Radio 4 quite a lot.  A startling admission there right from the off I admit, but I also listen to the programming overnight that is linked in from the World Service.  A great deal of it is very good and offers an insight into wider world issues that get very little mainstream coverage elsewhere.  For the last few weeks building up to the closing down of the foreign language services and the re-arrangment of various programming there have been constant reminders, hair-pulling and hand wringing bemoaning the coming "government enforced" cuts and changes.

I have been wondering for a while now if there are indeed other ways that the BBC could make savings that would allow them to protect their "crown jewels".  Well I think I have identified one cut that the BBC could make that would no doubt free up a great deal of money.  It could be done immediately and would remove an average of less than 2 hours non-repeat broadcasts per 24 hours of transmission.  I'm of course talking about scrapping BBC3.

If you look at the schedules for the coming week there is a total of 7 hours and 40 minutes of programming that  is not a repeat.  I'll just state that again. In 168 hours of transmission time approximately 7 hours and 40 minutes are not repeats.  Now my count across the schedule was a quick one taking into account programmes labelled as repeats, one program was not labelled as a repeat even though it was shown the day before.

What the hell is BBC 3 for?  In no way can it be considered a vital and valuable service.  A 24 hour rolling repeats service should not be something the BBC should be involved with, leave that to SKY or ITV.  The Beeb has the IPlayer if someone wants to catch up, although to be fair the constant stream of much repeated series like Family Guy and Total Wipeout doesn't appear there.

I would love someone to explain what exactly BBC3 costs and why retaining it is more valuable a public service than the World Service.


A swift rummage around shows that BBC3 costs somewhere around £115 million anually, the projected savings from the World Service cuts is around £46 million a year at the end of 2014.  So not only could they have prevented any cuts in the World Service they could have expanded output.  So now the only question remaining is why do the BBC consider a TV channel used almost entirely for repeats more valuable than their "priceless" World Service?

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