Challenges and opportunities for BBC Wales
BBC Wales has outlined how it plans to deliver greater value to audiences in Wales as part of radical changes unveiled by the Corporation today.
BBC Wales Controller Menna Richards told staff "some difficult decisions will have to be made", but she was confident "that the changes would see BBC Wales delivering higher impact and more local content across television, radio and online".
Over the next five years, the BBC is required to make efficiency savings of 3% per year, and meet the challenges of a growing digital, on-demand market.
The savings will be offset by new investment in content and programmes that will provide significant opportunities for BBC Wales and lower the total number of redundancies over the period.
The headline implications for BBC Wales are:
- 25 to 35 redundancies are expected in the first two years, with a potential total of 145 to 155 redundancies in Wales over the full five-year period. However, the potential increase in network production, redeployment of staff and exploitation of BBC Wales' success in multi-platform projects could significantly reduce this number.
- BBC Wales is looking forward to new investment in local services and English-language television, coupled with the new investment in Welsh-language programming announced last year.
- BBC 2W will come to an end in the run-up to digital switchover in 2009, with BBC Two Wales being carried across all digital platforms from that point.
- There will be an opportunity to build on BBC Wales' recent success through new network commissions, as part of BBC's commitment to increase production from the nations.
- BBC Wales is working on proposals for a new production headquarters.
Menna Richards told staff: "The next five years are going to be a real test of our creative abilities. But the ambition is simple – our audiences must regard us an indispensable part of their lives.
"Yes, it means making some tough choices – about what we make and how we make it. But it's also a journey we should approach with confidence because our track record in making great programmes that audiences love is outstanding.
"Our ambition is to provide higher-impact programming for audiences in Wales, delivering more local and more multimedia output."
Notes to Editors
A full copy of Menna Richards' speech to staff is available from the BBC Wales Press Office. A selection of extracts from her speech are below:
"Although we have to make savings again, this time we also know we're getting new investment into BBC Wales."
"As things stand today, in order to achieve the savings targets we've been set we'd be looking at redundancies in a range between 145 and 155 over five years. Over the first two years we expect to see redundancies of between 25 and 35 and believe that with the benefits of increased network production, successful exploitation of our expertise in multi-platform projects, combined with rigorous attempts to redeploy staff, we may be able to significantly lower the number of redundancies currently envisaged across years 3 to 5 of the plan."
"Once Wales goes digital, we will not be able to sustain two different versions of BBC Two. Therefore, BBC 2W – BBC Wales' digital-only service – will come to an end in the run-up to digital switchover in 2009, with BBC Two Wales being carried across all digital platforms from that point. We need to offer just one service, and that needs to be the very best of both network and BBC Wales television."
"The network opportunities are also very significant. We have made huge progress over recent years – but I am convinced we can go further. Certainly, the momentum is with us. Only last week BBC Wales' factual team won two big commissions. Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Vision, has talked about a continuing commitment to production in the Nations and I hope to be able to announce very soon some of the early detail behind this ambition – which promises to be very exciting for BBC Wales. The wheels are already turning. BBC Vision are announcing this morning that business worth between £20m and £40m could be moved to the Nations and across the UK. That is new investment that is not reflected in the redundancy figures I've announced this morning."
"It's also fair to say the proposed property review will have an impact. Without significant investment in this building in Llandaff, it'll no longer be fit for purpose. Our ambition is to move to a new building that will have the technology and resources to help us make more world-class content across all platforms."
"I am absolutely convinced BBC Wales will make the most of the opportunities lying ahead. We'll need to deal with the tough challenges we face and we'll need to work together to find the right answers, not the easy answers. And we'll need to stay focused on our audiences – and how they're changing. But if we can do all those things, I'm confident that BBC Wales will continue to flourish in the years to come."
BBC Wales Press Office