Sorting Out The BBC

The BBC is wriggling, writhing and, no doubt, holding hundreds of W1A type meetings trying to figure out how it can justify its massive tax revenues and Royal Charter.

Well, it can't.

An organisation that cannot run its main TV channel (BBC1 HD) 24 x 7, but rather inserts weird helicopter noises and test cards for half an hour at a time really does not need management consultants or execs on £500k a year to tell it why it is a bad failure.

So, let's start with technology.

The majority of its channels do not broadcast for 24 hours a day. Indeed, four of its channels pay full dollar, but run for different hours (CBBC, CBeebies, BBC3 and BBC4), so why not merge them into two channels - I make that at least four million a year in savings immediately. BBC News is used to fill gaps in both BBC1 and BBC2 schedules, so it seems that three could become two there also. Another million. The trouble is, this is loose change, or the price of a presenter to the BBC.

Launching a barebones PC in the country who gave us Rasberry Pi when you can't even run your main TV channel seems to be total madness. All such initiatives should be closed down, saving another ten million or so.

No costs have been appropriated to the iPlayer or to online sites created by the BBC, which often stymie innovation and startups in the UK, but cutting twenty million or so from here can do no harm.

The £100 million spent on trying to launch a media asset management system and, probably, another £100m in privatisation sweetners to the likes of Siemens and RedBee should be substantially reduced.

I think we may be close to totting up £200m on technology that can be saved from the BBC's current budget with no discernible impact on licence payers.

Next. let's look at management. Oh Jeez, where do you start. Any company that parody its own management so well must be chuckling all the way to the bank. There's little doubt that £100m of savings could be found tomorrow by running the BBC the way commercial broadcasters are run.

Then there is programming. Unfortunately, the BBC does not own Masterchef, Downton Abbey or Top Gear (oh, sorry, it does, but the brand is now worthless...). I can't remember the last decent drama production blockbuster it produced (OK, Poldark, which I hated). But it is a rights factory and BBC Worldwide has done a half decent job of capitalising on its rights and reputation. However, BBC International should be generating billions more in revenues and profits.

Regionally and locally the BBC has stifled all innovation and development and runs a hugely subsidized business whilst local media has collapsed. BBC Alba and S4C should be funded by local government, not the BBC. Another fifty million.

So, there you go, I have saved most people in the UK £1 per week that they can spend with Netflix, YouTube, Apple, Amazon or some other awful US non-taxpaying behemoth.