New BBC boss Tim Davie says expansion will end

I recently cancelled my TV licence and no longer help support the relentlessly left-wing anti-male feminist-ridden BBC, which gives me some satisfaction. Over a million British licence fee payers in the past year have cancelled their licences. I hope one day to see an end to the TV licence and public funding of the BBC, and with it the organisation consigned to the dustbin of history, where it has long deserved to be.

A piece in today’s Times:

The BBC has actually grown over the past three years, the corporation’s new director-general revealed as he declared an end to expansionism and raised the prospect of cut in output by a fifth.

Tim Davie said today that there was still too much bureaucracy at the organisation and that he would not hesitate to close channels if they did not offer value to audiences.

In a speech to staff outlining his priorities after stepping into the job this week amid a bruising row with the government over the Last Night of the Proms, Mr Davie said: “The evidence is unequivocal: the future of a universal BBC can no longer be taken for granted.”

In criticisms of the previous regime, he said that the corporation had spread itself too thinly, been “too slow” at ending projects that did not work, allowed too much duplication and had continued to employ people of a “BBC type”.

“We must make changes because it will harm the BBC if we don’t,” he said in Cardiff today. “The truth is that for all our extraordinary efforts there is significant risk. If current trends continue we will not feel indispensable enough to all our audiences.”

He added that the BBC had no “right to exist”.

Mr Davie, 53, who previously ran the organisation’s commercial BBC Studios arm and was once a Conservative councillor in London, has assumed the job at one of the most important periods in the corporation’s history.

Senior members of the government have made no secret of their desire to remove its £4 billion income gathered from licence fee payers and force it into becoming a fully commercial subscription service.

It has also faced repeated accusations of left-wing political bias, a London-centrism, and of being irrelevant to younger generations used to social media and streaming platforms.

Mr Davie said he did not want a “subscription BBC that serves the few [even though] we could make a decent business out of it and I suspect it could do quite well in certain postcodes”.

He said, however, that the corporation needed to become more streamlined while increasing its income from commercial partnerships.

Mr Davie said that although there were no “short-term plans to shut channels or radio networks . . . I do think this moment marks the end of linear expansion for the BBC”.

“As we move further towards an online world we will not hesitate to close channels if they do not offer value to our audiences,” he said adding that the organisation needed to consider “what we would do if we could only make 80 per cent of our current hours … It is about reallocating funds to where they generate most value”.

In another swipe at the regime of his predecessor Lord Hall of Birkenhead, Mr Davie said he regretted that the BBC had not “gone further to create a more diverse and inclusive environment”, saying: “The gap between rhetoric and action remains too big.”

“We must move away from any sense of a ‘BBC type’ and not hire in our own image,” he said. “We will look to make the BBC less, rather than more, London-based.”

Mr Davie added that despite “numerous programmes to reduce costs . . . we have actually increased our public service headcount over the last three years and we all feel that there is still too much bureaucracy”.

He also told staff: “We see this institution as essential and important. We debate the latest political shenanigans, internal dramas and the latest press flare-up as though these things represent what matters.

“This is dangerous. It means that we can take our eyes off the key issue of how much value we are delivering to each member of the public, and the UK as a whole.”

As expected, Mr Davie also raised the prospect of a crackdown on staff posting their views on social media. “If you want to be an opinionated columnist or partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice but you should not be working at the BBC,” he said.

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