What the BBC’s Freeze In Public Funding Teaches Us About Cost Control
We’re all pretty much familiar with the BBC, right? It’s that one popular British network. You know, the one that funds all those nature documentaries and whatnot. Actually, it’s a bit more significant than that. While we may not extend due reverence to the BBC here in the States, you’d better believe that they’re a veritable and inextricable part of life for just about every living soul that lives across the pond.
There are several BBC channels.
The British Broadcast Corporation runs a rather expansive system of media content, with 10 television channels, 16 radio stations, and a host of web services under its umbrella. They’ve even got a newfangled internet TV service in the pipeline as well, just to keep things innovative. By the way, according to their wiki page, they happen to be the largest broadcaster in the world, with over 21,000 current staff. All in all, they’re the kind of brand entity that likes to call their own shots—and until recently, they’ve been able to do so.
Well, according to its detractors, the BBC has gotten a little too big for its britches lately, and they’re now under fire for poor cost-control. Long story short, the British government is saying that the company spends way too much (and the fact that that they’re allocating over 500 staff workers for coverage of the royal wedding probably doesn’t help). As a result, the company has agreed to put a freeze on their public funding through 2017, according to a New York Times article.
Get it? "Frozen funds?"
The BBC has historically relied on public funding in order to maintain the massive scope of its operations. Much of its annual income is generated through a yearly TV licensing fee—which extends to all British homes—in the amount of 145.50 Euros or pounds or sixpence or whatever (basically $250.00 annually). The freeze on their funding will force them to enact budget cuts in excess of $2 billion and to lay off hundreds of their workers in the next several years. The revered company has already started cutting employee pensions and plans to relocate many of them as well.
Of course, another big concern is the amount of content that the BBC will be forced to cut in order to meet their goal. The company’s chief operating officer has hinted at a number of avenues being considered, “like eliminating middle-of-the-night television service, reducing the number of radio stations, and offering fewer political programs,” according to the article.
Are fewer political programs the answer?
While the budget cuts aren’t likely to affect many of the company’s more popular programs (rest assured, they’re not going to be cancelling Doctor Who anytime soon), it’s unfortunate to think that they have to resort to such decision-making in the first place. The BBC is probably one of the few examples of a company whose name contains the word “corporation” yet manages not to carry that negative connotation that normally comes with it. That’s quite a feat in and of itself, though it unfortunately won’t put a damper on bad press.
If anything, it goes to show that even for the most longstanding and respected brands, there are always repercussions for your business practices.
Note to all businesses—spend wisely!
What else can be learned from the BBC’s funding freeze? Do you have any tips for cost control in business?