BBC Four and CBBC to end as televised channels in corporation cutbacks

The channels are to be moved online to the iPlayer service as part of a plan to make the national network 'digital first'.

BBC Four and CBBC to end as televised channels in corporation cutbacks iStock
The BBC announced plans to end BBC Four and CBBC on Wednesday.

BBC Four and CBBC will end as linear TV channels as part of the broadcaster’s plans to become “digital-first”.

Director-general Tim Davie announced to staff on Thursday that 1,000 jobs will be cut across the public-funded part of the corporation.

BBC World News and BBC News Channel will merge to create a single 24-hour TV news channel serving both UK and international audiences.

Regional TV news programmes in Oxford and Cambridge are also among the services being scrapped – merging with the BBC’s Southampton and Norwich operations.

BBC Four and CBBC are expected to move online to the iPlayer, while Radio 4 Extra could become available on the BBC Sounds service only.

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The cuts are part of a move to save an additional £285m annual funding gap by 2027/28 created by the licence fee freeze.

The culture secretary announced in January that the licence fee will capped at £159 for the next two years.

Mr Davie told staff: “This is our moment to build a digital-first BBC. Something genuinely new, a Reithian organisation for the digital age, a positive force for the UK and the world.

“Independent, impartial, constantly innovating and serving all. A fresh, new, global digital media organisation which has never been seen before.

“Driven by the desire to make life and society better for our licence fee payers and customers in every corner of the UK and beyond. They want us to keep the BBC relevant and fight for something that in 2022 is more important than ever.

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“To do that we need to evolve faster and embrace the huge shifts in the market around us.”

The first phase of savings represents £500 million annual savings and reinvestment.

Mr Davie, who took over from Lord Tony Hall as BBC director-general in September 2020, has overseen a slimming down of the corporation since starting in the role, with the BBC losing some 1,200 staff in the last 18 months.

The BBC faces uncertainty over the future of the licence fee after Nadine Dorries announced a consultation about the future funding of the broadcaster will begin shortly.

The minister has said she wants to find a new funding model before the current deal expires in 2027 as it is “completely outdated”.

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