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BBC Wales announces £9 mn savings target over next five years

MUMBAI: BBC Wales has announced a major reorganisation that will bring together commissioning across television, radio and online for the very first time.

BBC Wales’ director, Rhodri Talfan Davies also told staff that the organisation will need to deliver savings of £9 million per annum by 2022 to live within the new ‘cash-flat’ licence fee agreement – a two per cent per annum savings target – although new investment is also expected to be confirmed later this year.

The changes in commissioning are expected to see BBC Wales accelerate its development of digital content and reach out to younger audiences. A new head of commissioning will also be appointed to focus on television and online commissioning.

The new commissioning team will include the editors of both Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, who will also join the BBC Wales board for the first time.

Davies said, “The changes are designed to make BBC Wales more creative, more collaborative and more open. Our audiences are changing fast and we must too. I believe these changes wlll simplify the way we work, speed up decision-making and give our commissioners the freedom to place even bigger bets and to explore new ways of serving all our audiences.”

He also announced that BBC Wales’ digital and marketing teams would be brought together for the first time to strengthen the organisation’s focus on innovation, technology and audience insight.

Outlining the savings challenge, Rhodri Talfan Davies said BBC Wales’ relocation to a new home in Central Square in Cardiff city centre in 2019 was expected to deliver significant operational savings, which could contribute up to £3 million of the overall savings target. He also announced plans for significant management savings, with six senior posts being closed and three new one being created.

He told staff that he hoped to limit savings in content areas to around £3 million over the five years, and that any new investment secured was expected to be directed at English language television programming and news services.

Davies said, “In the public sector, our efficiency record is second to none. Across the BBC, our savings in this current Charter period stand at about £1.6 billion. Our principle, as always, will be to protect our services as far as possible, and minimise the impact on audiences. So, of course, we will push even harder on efficiency.”