Almost every time I post to The Editors, no matter what the topic, comments come in along this general line: "Why in the world is the BBC using money from the British licence fee payer to fund a programme aimed at Americans?" Those comments deserve an answer, and it's a very simple one: The entire programme budget for BBC World News America comes from BBC Worldwide, not the licence fee. The programme is made by BBC World News on behalf of Worldwide - and the channels which carry us run commercials to help pay our bills.
Of course we benefit tremendously from the global newsgathering apparatus of the BBC, and that apparatus is licence fee-funded. But BBC World News, one of the commercial channels on which our programme runs, also make a very big payment to BBC News each year to support that infrastructure.
And in my short time here, I've been very impressed by how careful the BBC is to make sure that the British licence fee payer is not paying for work that doesn't benefit them. For example, if Karen Allen does a story from Kenya for the News at Ten and we want to re-air that story on our programme, fair enough. More people get to see her great work, with no additional cost to anyone. But if we ask Karen to also do a live interview with Matt Frei to accompany and complement that story, we pay any extra costs (satellite time, etc) from our budget.
This is an important subject, and I hope I've been able to clear up any confusion.