12 JUN 2020

WITHOUT STUDIOS' PLANNED SALES, BBC FACES A USD 82 MILLION DEFICIT

The impact of CODID-19 left the British network without the BBCS annual contribution, which last year had been USD 316 million. Without a doubt, it will affect the station's future budgets.

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The COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the revenue of the BBC trade group as a result of lower production activity, lost sales and an unprecedented drop in the UK and global advertising markets. Its business arm, BBC Studios, would not report dividends this year as opposed to the $ 316 million it provided in its last annual contribution. In this sense, it is worth noting that the BBCS had experienced a high level of business performance by selling programs such as "Luther", "Mother Father Son" and "Dynasties", in addition to productions made for partners such as the North American Quibi and the Chinese platform Migu Video.

Fran Unsworth, BBC News Director, acknowledged yesterday that "there would be no dividend payment from the broadcaster's commercial arm" and that this situation "would further affect the future budgets for the broadcaster", which has already been forced to stop the plans BBC News to cut 450 jobs designed to save $ 100 million by 2022, as well as delay the end of the free television license for those over 75.

"While we still have the savings strategy, the reality is that the BBC's financial position has worsened," said the executive at an online event for the Royal Television Society, acknowledging that "it will impact public service as dividends of commercial companies have been an increasing source of financing and, consequently, will be reduced ".

On the other hand, she explained that she has already started working on plans that will allow her to restart the process of streamlining the BBC news operation. While ratings on the BBC's public affairs and news programs in the UK soared during the pandemic, she noted that "the planned cuts are likely to happen".

Unsworth noted that 90% of BBC staff have been working from home and that it could surely be assumed as a long-term policy. "We have clearly demonstrated that people do not need to come to the office all the time. I do not think we will have to go back to work exactly as we did before. That is something that we will have to solve in the coming months," he concluded.