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article imageBigger budgets for BBC radio, television services

By Andrew John     May 20, 2010 in Entertainment
The body that oversees the BBC has increased the corporation’s annual budgets for television and radio services, allowing it to cover an extra £23 million of rent required after the corporation sold off its freehold properties.
The BBC Trust has published details of new service licences for the corporation’s 28 television, radio and online services for the 12 months ending March 2011.
The Trust said that the move was designed to “reflect the planned and foreseen rise in property costs as a result of the modernisation of the BBC estate and the planned transition from a freehold to a leasehold estate”, and that it had spread the forecasted additional property-rental costs of £23 million a year across all service licences.
The Trust also announced an increase of £8.5 million in the budget for children’s services, which had been as recommended by its own service review last year, and should benefit the children’s digital TV channels Cbeebies (which broadcasts ZingZillas and OOglies) and CBBC (which broadcasts Blue Peter and The Sarah Jane Adventures, the Doctor Who spin-off drama from Russell T. Davies).
The Trust has also allocated extra money to local television and radio services in the regions and nations, which, it says, will be made predominantly through “ongoing service efficiencies”.
Rotha Johnston, a BBC trustee and chair of the Finance and Compliance Committee, said: “Following careful scrutiny, the Trust has approved these new service licences on the basis that these are, in the main, accountancy changes to more accurately reflect the costs that services incur, along with some targeted increases in investment in children’s and local programming identified as part of recent reviews.
Reductions to baseline budgets
“We are clear that service licences must be as transparent as possible; our forthcoming scheduled review will tell us if this is the case.”
Digital Spy publishes a report saying that “efficiencies at the TV digital channels BBC HD and BBC Parliament will result in reductions to their individual baseline budgets”, and that, in recent months, the Corporation has been selling off large portions of its property portfolio, including Woodlands in west London and Kingswood Warren in Surrey, and is preparing to relocate five departments to its new MediaCity in Salford in the North of England, where it will rent space from development company Peel.
The Trust, meanwhile, has also confirmed that it intends to review how it manages service licences in the future to ensure they remain in line with targets.
More about Bbc trust, Bbc budgets, Doctor Who, Mediacity, Cbbc
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