Significant funding and cuts, more crises and “persistent attacks from the press” have left BBC staff feeling “besieged”, according to BBC President Richard Sharp.
By delivering a keynote at today’s Voice of the Listener & Viewer conference, Sharp also warned that “there will be consequences” on program budgets if the licensing fee stops rising with next year’s inflation, with genres that are less commercial , such as local news that is likely to take the hit.
Asked by Deadline about his comment that BBC staff feel “a bit besieged”, Sharp spoke honestly: “We have had to take significant financial and job cuts over the last few years, creating a slightly negative “In addition, we have thrown ourselves from one crisis to another over a period of time that has not been well reflected in the people of the BBC. In addition, we have had persistent attacks from the press.”
Sharp added that he would like to “be in a position where people feel happier and better with themselves” in the coming months as he tries to create a more positive culture.
The latest “crisis” he referred to was the royal family’s criticism and frustration at not being given the right to respond to Monday’s BBC2 documentary. The princes and the press, with reports popping up this morning that Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Christmas concert will now take place on ITV rather than the BBC.
In a rare joint statement yesterday, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Clarence House said “exaggerated and unfounded allegations from unknown sources” had been presented as facts in the document, giving them credibility by the BBC. The criticism comes just a few months after the Martin Bashir / Princess Diana scandal blew up.
Sharp, however, said the doctor had “created sympathy for the royal family and what they are facing.”
“I felt [the doc] demonstrated enormous sympathy for the people in the crosshairs of public control and the horrific behavior of the media as a whole, ”he added. “The BBC is a national institution and we approach other institutions with great care and consideration. We have enormous respect for all aspects of the Royal Family and from time to time we produce shows that may or may not meet with full agreement from different parts of the establishment.
Sharp also targeted American streamers such as Netflix and Disney for making shows in the UK that are “rarely about the UK.”
He declined to comment on the current negotiations on licensing fees, but it strongly suggested that program cuts are on the way if the annual fee of £ 159 ($ 212.40) stops rising with inflation, as has been the case since 2015, and it comes as superinflation in areas like drama and high – Final documentaries remain a reality.
“What is unfortunate for our consumers is that the BBC is facing economic austerity at a time when competition is even more severe,” Sharp added. “If we have to enter into contracts, then it has a multiplier effect, and there will have to be consequences if we do not obtain a license fee that keeps pace with inflation.”
The BBC earned £ 3.75M ($ 5M) in license revenue for the last financial year, a 7% increase.