BBC DG Tim Davie To Set Out Future In Speech Later This Month

EXCLUSIVE: The “future direction of the BBC and its role for the UK” will be set out in an all-staff speech from Director General Tim Davie in a fortnight, at which point he will address “a new wave of technological change reshaping the media landscape.”

A memo from Davie sent in the past few minutes invited all staff to the speech and seemed to hint at the possibility of restructures or cuts to come, although the speech will also outline a positive vision under its Value for All strategy. The speech will come around the same time as the BBC’s Annual Plan, which sets out spending priorities for the coming year.

After delivering his big set piece on March 26, Davie said he will “hold sessions with each division to look at what this means for everyone in more detail and what we need to prioritise as we set goals for the year ahead.”

“A new wave of technological change is reshaping the media landscape and bringing fresh challenges for us all: to our democracy; to our creative economy; and, to society,” said Davie’s note. In late 2022, Davie had unveiled a blueprint for a digitally-led Public Service Broadcaster, stating at that point that the BBC will have “fewer linear broadcast services” in the next decade as it “consolidates activity under one simple, single brand.”

Insiders speculated that more cuts or restructures may be coming, with one saying they anticipate more “digital first reshuffling,” although the speech will be broad, we understand, and look at the BBC’s role as a public broadcaster in the changing world.

The BBC has been struggling financially following a less-than-ideal license fee settlement that has left the corporation with a £100M ($127M) funding shortfall amidst soaring costs and declining license fee income. The news teams have been hit particularly hard, with the likes of Newsnight parred back, while TV commissioners have been leaning in to a ‘fewer, bigger, better’ model.

In today’s email, Davie thanked staff for “delivered some outstanding content across the BBC and taking big steps in our work to transform the organisation.”

The note came 10 days after new BBC Chair Samir Shah used his first staff memo to say “tough choices and hard decisions are to come” at the broadcaster. Shah said the BBC will have to “think very hard about what we should stop doing or do very differently.”

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