BBC reduces star pay by £9.5m

New Broadcasting House The BBC's Broadcasting House in London has been extended

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The BBC has reduced its star pay by £9.5m, spending just over £203m in the past financial year on salaries for its presenters and "talent".

The BBC's annual report revealed 16 individuals were paid more than £500,000 in the financial year 2011-12, three fewer than the year before.

Meanwhile, director general Mark Thompson earned £622,000 in the past financial year - down from £779,000.

He earned 15 times more than the median pay of a BBC employee.

Thompson is stepping down from his role in September and will be succeeded by the BBC's current director of Vision, George Entwistle.

He will be paid significantly less - £450,000 in his first year.

In total, the combined salaries of the BBC's executive directors fell from £5,714,000 in 2010-11 to £2,560,000, largely due to the number of board members being reduced from 13 to seven.

Two of the seven who stepped down are still on the BBC payroll - Lucy Adams, who is the corporation's head of business operations, and Peter Salmon, the director of BBC North.

Lord Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, said: "We have continued to push hard on value for money, encouraging the BBC to drive down senior management pay and draw up a plan for living in more financially constrained times."

The annual report also looked at the BBC's productions. Spending on the BBC's TV channels decreased by £37.1m in 2011-12, down to £2.3bn.

But radio spending increased by £2m to £640.1m.

Change in TV hours by genre graph

Drama output across BBC television fell by 156 hours, although there was a significant increase in drama on BBC radio - up 419 hours.

But new British drama programming increased by 144 hours.

Lord Patten said: "One of our main priorities is ensuring the BBC produces genuinely distinctive programmes, and progress has been made here, although there is more to do."

Entertainment programmes increased by 327 hours, while the same genre also went up on radio by 568 hours.

After years being pilloried for the high sums it pays its on-air talent (symbolised by the £6m a year once earned by Jonathan Ross), the BBC can now clearly show that it has responded - albeit belatedly, its critics would say.

The BBC says it spent 25% less last year on paying its biggest stars. The number who earned over half a million pounds a year fell from 19 to 16, and the total they received fell from £21m to £16m.

The BBC doesn't name them, nor does it reveal how many earned more than £1m but it's widely reported that the highest earners include Graham Norton and Gary Lineker. Norton himself told the Daily Mirror last year that he was taking a pay cut and "there should be no special cases".

With the BBC facing a 20%spending cut, the number in the highest salary bracket is unlikely to go up. The same goes for BBC executives - the new director general is to receive £450,000, well down on his predecessor's £622,000 last year.

Factual content on TV increased by 307 hours, while music and arts fell by 90 hours.

Televised sports decreased by 389 hours and there were 602 hours less of sports coverage on BBC radio.

Staff numbers were reduced by 342. There were 470 senior managers in the BBC last year, a reduction of 70.

The BBC also announced that it has exchanged contracts for the sale of Television Centre in west London to property developers Stanhope Plc for a total price of £200m.

The BBC put Television Centre on sale in June 2011 and has operated on the site since 1960.

The iconic building opened on 29 June 1960, as the BBC's first purpose-built centre for television production.

Staff based there are now either based in Salford or are in the process of moving to the newly extended Broadcasting House in central London.

The BBC's financial officer, Zarin Patel, said the BBC had a strong financial foundation.

'Explain better'

The corporation has an underlying surplus of £249m, thanks to changes to the staff's pension scheme, which saved £45m, and the one-off sale of BBC Worldwide's magazines business for £95m.

Television Centre Television Centre has been sold to a property developer

The BBC saved a total of £499m since 2008-09, exceeding the 3% target set by the BBC Trust.

The corporation has a target of 11% in efficiency savings by 2016 as part of its Delivering Quality First strategy.

A survey for the BBC Trust showed that 56% of UK adults agreed that their household received good value from the licence fee.

The annual report stated that this figure had remained stable for the last four years "but suggests that there is a need to better explain how the money is being spent".

The BBC continued to reach almost every household in the UK, with 96% of people consuming BBC content via TV, radio and online every week.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    The BBC should think seriously about how many presenters they send to any given sporting event. Sometimes it is just ridiculous.

    Can you explain exactly what Jake Humphrey was doing at the Euro 2012 championships? At most I saw him interview Martin Keone for 2 minutes each half of a match and all they did was repeat what the studio team had said.

    That is a waste of money !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    It takes all of the tv license fees from 13,800 households to pay the £2,000,000 salary of just Gary Linekar. That's a medium sized town, just for one part-time presenter. There are scores of people that could and would do the job just as well for 5% of his pay. Who makes these decisions? I like Match of the Day but I watch it for the football, not the presenter!

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    Post 100: The PM pay should not be brought into this - the PM will gain enough benefits in later years. It is also a career and public choice to become a PM. For the directors, if the BBC want decent talent and to compete with other TV stations, then you have to pay the market rate. The arguments between the two are not mutual.

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    So, director general Mark Thompson earned £622,000 last year did he?
    No, he didn't.
    He might have been paid that much, but after the first £50k it was earned by other people. Not just at the BBC, but at every other channel we're forced to pay a license fee to watch.
    This is as medieval and wrong as the window tax of 1696.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    None of them are worth what they get paid. Even news readers are on more than £100K per annum. It's a disgrace.

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    further cuts could be 1/ one person presenting the news. 2/ sack andrew marr 3/ scrap radio one 4/ scrap reality shows 5/ cut down on sill childrens shows eg dick and dom.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    Why spend thousands developing a studio in South Africa overlooking table mountain for pundits to talk about football they have just watched on a TV? Why not let them watch it on TV in the MOTD studio and stick a picture of table mountain behind them. Too many unnecssary 'jollies' during major football events, including half the 5 live morning team interviewing hungover england fans in Ukraine.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    Doubtless there remains some waste and some over indulgence but around £12 a month is reasonable for all the available tv abd radio content and it does seem odd for the people who think the BBC is a waste to remain camped out on its web pages "having their say"...

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    What "stars"? All I have seen in recent years are "has been" hangers on, so-called reporters who cannot speak English and or foul mouthed idiots

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    Match of the Day presenters and analysts, £1million a year rising to £2million, plus all the crisp adverts you can manage, still I suppose it is good to see our retired sportsmen putting something back!LOL
    Time for a real shake up, for a lifetime we have been told how great the BBC is and more recently it is OUR BBC, so why don't they listen?

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    Tune in to ITV 2,3 & 4 and see how truely bad tv could be without the BBC holding up some type of quality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    It is great news that the BBC is showing responsibility and delivering a reduction in waste whilst getting better value for money.

    My concern is that, incertain areas, the cost cutting is showing. I feel we are not seeing an organisation as dynamic as our European counterparts, we have a more sedate, lacklustre broadcaster which can seem dull at times.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    surplus of £249m.. does that mean there will be no reason to increase the license fee and possibly lower it slightly?? i doubt it

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    excellent, now can we expect a cut in tv tax this year? thought not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Quite why I have fork out to pay ppl I don't watch is beyond me

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    How can people in the public sector be paid more than the PM who arguably has far more responsibility? Joke.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    @84 Bossuk, you have obviously ruled yourself out then!
    but if the 40% who you say can`t dress also includes the inarticulate (30%), uneducated(20%), not ugly(4%), and (5.75%) unable to read an autoqueue for an entire broadcast without sounding like a drone, that leaves talent pool of 60%. Don`t you love statistics?

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    A good start. Continue with over paid under performing management. No one in the BBC is worth more that 500,000 if that!

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    It's interesring to see all the comments praising the BBC being rated up and those criticising the BBC being rated down. Presumably all the BBC staff are on here at the moment rather than spending their time producing quality drama.

    Hold on - the BBC doesn't produce quality drama any more, does it? It's been replaced by reality TV and quiz shows.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    No one at the BBC should earn more than David Cameron as PM - BBC pay is a national disgrace for a public SERVICE

    It is high time those in 'public SERVICE' are reminded what being in 'public SERVICE' actually means

    It is also high time that BBC's exemption to the FOI is ended so that public can see how many at BBC are 'freelancing' and avoiding PAYE taxation


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