BBC Sacks 300 at Production Studios to Reduce Costs

  • Public-service broadcaster plans to commercialize unit in 2017
  • Labor group sees more job losses as BBC seeks efficiencies

bbc_news_uk_channel_new_look_19_march_2013The British Broadcasting Corp. is cutting about 300 positions from its in-house production arm as the public broadcaster eliminates costs amid rising competition with the private sector.

The world’s oldest national broadcaster said the BBC Studios unit is moving toward a staffing model “more in line with the wider industry,” including employing workers on fixed-period contracts for specific programs, according to a statement on Thursday.

BBC formed the division earlier this year and plans to turn it into a commercial unit in 2017 to also produce content for industry peers. BBC Studios is facing more competition after the U.K. government removed a guarantee that 50 percent of the broadcaster’s programs would be made in-house.

The job losses will affect program staff in drama, comedy, entertainment, events and music, according to London-based BECTU, which represents U.K. media and entertainment workers and is the largest trade union within the BBC, according to a statement from the organization. BECTU predicted more cuts will come as the broadcaster seeks savings.

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