Friday, February 26, 2010

BBC may be ordered to trim back assets; close two radio stations; lose magazines

The Times of London is reporting that the BBC will be ordered to cut back its media assets, ending an era of expansion for the publicly funded media organization. The BBC operates under a Royal Charter and decisions concerning such moves must be approved by the BBC Trust.

According to the Times, Mark Thompson, the Director-General, will announce that digital radio stations 6 Music and Asian Network will close, and will introduce a cap on spending on broadcast rights for sports events.  A report in the Daily Mail also mentions that the recommendations include halving the size of BBC Internet efforts

The moves seem targeted to please private media companies in the UK who complain of BBC activities and expansion. Last week, the UK based National Publishers Association requested that the BBC curtail its plans to launch iPhone apps for news and sports.

The formal review and recommendations are due in March, and is seen as a preemptive move by the BBC as a potential future Tory (conservative) government is seen to move toward privatization of media assets.