BBC director general Mark Thompson has presented plans to the corporation's ruling body, the BBC Trust, detailing how management intends to deliver the BBC's remit despite a £2bn funding gap over the next six years. The Trust is understood to have backed Thompson's view, expressed in a recent interview in BBC staff magazine Ariel, that cuts need to take place across the corporation rather than be focused on the closure of a digital television channel, such as BBC Three or BBC Four.
At this week's Trust meeting Thompson was reportedly told to trim spending plans by 3% each year over the next five years.
Last month Today presenter John Humphreys and Panorama reporter John Sweeney identified BBC Three and BBC Four as candidates for the axe, while Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman told Edinburgh Television Festival goers it appeared the BBC wanted to stay in "every television and radio channel and maintain its internet presence, but to do so with fewer resources".
Thompson told Ariel that cuts would have to be made across the corporation, amounting to "less hours of TV, [and] fewer pages on our web site", but he ruled out closing down "a complete service" such as BBC Three or BBC Four.
"Having built up these brands it would be a pretty big step to shut one of them down," he said. "The BBC is changing. It cannot offer people the same levels of job security that it did in the 60s and 70s. Overall, our headcount is going to reduce further."
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