The public tells us they want the best stars on the BBC, and in a highly competitive market, that costs, even if we do on the whole pay less than our rivals. The reality is that the BBC today costs less in real terms than it did 20 years ago. But now we offer four times as many TV channels, twice as many national radio stations, plus our video-on-demand service - iPlayer - and everything we do online. All for less than three pounds a week.Tony Hall, BBC Director-General
Date: 19.07.2017 Last updated: 19.07.2017 at 11.04
Today the BBC has published its Annual Report for 2016/17.
The report shows that despite increased competition and changes in technology the BBC continues to reach 95% of the UK adults each week.
It was an outstanding year on air with programmes such as The Night Manager, Planet Earth II, Taboo, Happy Valley, My Life, Radio 2’s 500 Words competition and the Black and British season.
The BBC’s weekly global audience increased to 372 million people, BBC iPlayer had its biggest ever year with an average 246m monthly requests and BBC Children's apps were downloaded 12 million times.
During the year, the BBC surpassed its target for £700m of savings and reduced its overheads to just five per cent of controllable spend, while reducing senior manager numbers again – now down by almost half in eight years.
As part of the publication, the BBC has disclosed the amounts paid to staff and talent over £150,000 from the licence fee in the last financial year.
Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, says: “Of the 43,000 talent contracts with the BBC last year, less than a quarter of one per cent were paid more than £150,000.
“The BBC produces some of the nation’s most loved television and radio and the most trusted news, while operating in a competitive market with the likes of Sky, ITV, Netflix and Amazon. It is widely acknowledged that on the whole the BBC pays less than its competitors while delivering high-quality and award-winning content.
“We have significantly reduced the total bill spent on paying talent, down again this year by 2.5%. The bill for top talent is down 10% year on year, and down by a quarter over the last five years. The amount we pay the very highest earners has dropped by 40% across the same period. At the same time, there has been significant cost inflation across the industry, so that BBC has made savings in an environment where costs are significantly up.
“However, the great majority of the public say that they want the BBC to try to have the best talent on its programmes. The BBC does not exist in a market on its own where it can set the market rates. If we are to give the public what they want, then we have to pay for those great presenters and stars. The public agree.
“New research shows that four out of five members of the public think that the BBC should be able to try to get the highest quality presenters, actors and reporters for its programmes and services - even if it means paying similar amounts to other broadcasters.
“The BBC has led the way on transparency - which is unique in the media market - publishing salaries of senior managers earning over £150,000 since 2009, and numbers of talent in pay bands since 2010. It is our aim to pay senior managers less than the market rate, and those at the top of the organisation are paid less than half of what their commercial rivals receive.
“On gender and diversity, the BBC is more diverse than the broadcasting industry and the Civil Service. We have set the most stretching targets in the industry for on-air diversity and we’ve made progress, but we recognise there is more to do and we are pushing further and faster than any other broadcaster.
"At the moment, of the talent earning over £150,000, two thirds are men and one third are women. We’ve set a clear target for 2020: we want all our lead and presenting roles to be equally divided between men and women. And it’s already having an impact. If you look at those on the list who we have hired or promoted in the last three years, 60% are women and nearly a fifth come from a BAME background.
“Meeting our goal on this is going to have a profound impact not just on the BBC, but the whole media industry. It’s going to change the market for talent in this country.
“Ultimately, people should judge the BBC on the quality of the programmes and services they get for their 40p a day. The public tells us they want the best stars on the BBC, and in a highly competitive market, that costs, even if we do on the whole pay less than our rivals. The reality is that the BBC today costs less in real terms than it did 20 years ago. But now we offer four times as many TV channels, twice as many national radio stations, plus our video-on-demand service - iPlayer - and everything we do online. All for less than three pounds a week. In fact, for every hour that anyone consumes the BBC, they’re paying an average of less than seven pence - brilliant value compared to any other form of entertainment.
“The BBC is hugely proud of our content and shows - and of those who make and appear on them. The UK has a world-class broadcaster in the BBC. We have made huge strides on efficiency in recent years with overheads down to industry-leading levels: just five per cent of our total costs - better than most in the regulated private sector - to make sure the vast majority of our spending goes directly into the programmes and services the public love.
“Part of delivering that great content is the talent who appear in those programmes, who present them, or who interview and hold the powerful to account on behalf of the public. The public backs having great people working for the BBC. That’s because they get extraordinary value.”
BBC Press Office
Notes to Editors
The Annual Report and Accounts 2016/17 and the Full Financial Statements can be found here. Pay disclosures for 2016/17 can be found here.
Details of expenses, gifts and hospitality and declaration of personal interests for Q4 2016/2017 (January - March 2017) for senior managers who earn over £150k and/or those who sit on the BBC’s boards are also published today.
Alongside the Annual Report the following documents have also been published: