LONDON — The BBC said Thursday it intends to eliminate about 2,000 jobs and radically change its programming as it attempts to slash 20 percent from its budget over the next five years.
Announcing the cuts in a report called “Delivering Quality First,” the BBC said the changes would be “the most far-reaching transformation in our history.”
The BBC’s director general, Mark Thompson, told staff on Thursday that the changes — including the relocation of about 1,000 employees from London to Salford, outside Manchester — would mean “a smaller, radically reshaped BBC.”
The world’s largest public broadcaster stressed that no television or radio stations would close but said the cuts would affect its chat and sports shows and would mean showing more repeats.
The move follows a six-year freeze last year of the license fee, a $224 levy paid by TV-watching households that funds the BBC.
The news came on the same day as a seminar on media ethics held as part of the Leveson inquiry, a panel set up in the wake of Britain’s phone-hacking scandal. Newspaper editors and media executives met to discuss, among other things, the economic pressures facing the industry.
Speaking at the seminar, Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, said that many of Britain’s newspapers were surviving the downturn simply because they were subsidized.
Referring to Rupert Murdoch, who subsidizes the loss-making Times and Sunday Times newspapers, Rusbridger said: “God bless him.”