By Max Goldbart
International TV Co-Editor
The BBC has unveiled plans to merge its domestic and international news channels, with 70 jobs set to be cut in London HQ but 20 created in Washington.
The landmark plan, which was first unveiled last year as the BBC battles to make millions of pounds of savings within its news division including 450 redundancies, will see the merger of the UK BBC News channel and domestic BBC Global News.
The new channel, confusingly titled BBC News, will launch in April 2023.
The network will still operate from London HQ during the UK day and Singapore and Washington will take over out of hours UK, with 20 roles created in the latter city to help run it. Eleven roles in Washington will be journalists, including one presenter, and nine will be technical as the BBC beefs up its non-UK operation.
The BBC said sports programing, both domestic and international, will become more of a feature of the new channel along with the creation of TV shows based on radio programs such as Nicky Campbell’s Radio 5 Live show, which will stream on weekday mornings. BBC Studios will continue to have responsibility for securing commercial revenues from the channel outside the UK and it will remain ad-free in the UK.
There will be less presenters but correspondents will do more on-air presentations, Deadline understands.
“Our aim is to create the best live and breaking video news service in the world – on our web pages, our apps, on BBC iPlayer and on our new TV news channel,” said BBC News Digital Director Naja Nielsen. “The way audiences consume news is changing.”
While the likes of Nielsen are talking up the channel’s opportunity, the announcement of the 70 job cuts is a fresh blow to a department that has lost many big names in recent months, including presenting beasts such as Emily Maitlis, Jon Sopel and Lewis Goodall, along with many below-the-line.
Broadcasting union Bectu Head Philippa Childs blamed the UK government’s decision to freeze the BBC licence feee for two years for the cuts.
“This hit hugely talented and dedicated people who work hard to deliver critical services to the nation and beyond,” she added.“ This is a very challenging and uncertain time for our members and we will continue to fully engage in these proposals to do everything we can to support them.”
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