Thursday, May 19, 2016

BBC considering merging its international TV news channel, BBC World News, with its domestic BBC News channel in the UK to cut costs.

The BBC is considering merging its two news channels, its international TV channel BBC World News, and its domestic BBC News channel in the United Kingdom to cut costs.

In July last year plans emerged to turn the BBC News channel seen in the UK only, into an online channel only.

That has not happened. 

Of course, the TV viewership and reach of the BBC's international TV news audience keeps growing, making it unlikely that BBC World News will become an online-only channel or close down. 

And yet the BBC is being forced to dramatically cut costs. Now, one of the solutions on the table is to merge the local and the international BBC News channels, as first reported by The Guardian.

The BBC runs BBC News as a domestic 24-hour TV news channel, alongside an international and slightly differentiated channel feed, BBC World News, using the same resources.

Sometimes international viewers get to see BBC News coverage when BBC World News switches to BBC News for certain events - similar to when CNN International (DStv 401) switches to the CNN version seen in America.

Programmes like Outside Source is also simulcast and shown on BBC World News and BBC News at the same time.

James Harding, the BBC's director of news and current affairs, has said that closing down one of the channels is not on the agenda.

Yet, possibly merging the two channels into one will effectively mean the loss of a channel if the plan is enacted.

In South Africa and Africa, BBC World News is carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform on channel 400, and on On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media SA's StarSat on channel 256.

As part of cost-cutting plans announced on Tuesday, the BBC is looking at the possibility of replacing BBC News and BBC World News with just one 24-hour TV news channel as "a single new BBC channel offering a global agenda from London".

The BBC News channel alone costs the BBC £63 million (R1,45 trillion) per year to run. It's not clear how much BBC World News costs per year to operate.