Richard Deverell, controller of BBC Children’s, will have his work cut out for him in light of the recent announcement of a US$3.9-billion funding shortfall for the BBC over the next six years.
The UK government rejected the Beeb’s request to have its yearly budgets keep pace with the rate of inflation, creating the looming massive funding gap. However, the six-year deal – longer than those made during previous budget go-rounds – at least gives the pubcaster a concrete idea of what the fiscal future holds.
‘I think that we are looking at less income in ’07 and ’08 than I hoped for,’ Deverell says, adding that the shortfall was expected and the UK pubcaster has been busy devising a plan to deal with having less cash to throw around.
It’s too early to say how the announcement will affect acquisition and co-productions outputs. However, common sense says that changes are afoot.
‘The main board of the BBC is pretty much in a huddle working out what choices will be made,’ he says.
Decisions on which programs are cut altogether, scaled back or left unscathed are in the works and The Beeb will also be keeping a keen eye on reducing repetition of services and expanding its commercial strategy.
In terms of future growth, Deverell believes online opportunities may be the key to padding revenues.