Huw Edwards gives tour of new BBC News studio
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Last week BBC News unveiled a newly refurbished studio for flagship bulletins, having reportedly kept the project a secret for months. The new space includes a curved catwalk and a giant vertical screen for social media videos, and will also host a new show by Laura Kuenssberg. However, the BBC committed to the new studio investment before it later unveiled plans to combine its domestic and international rolling news channels, according to the Times.
The plans are expected to lead to some losing their jobs, as well as a reduced service for audiences, after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries froze their licence fee for the next two years.
One source reportedly described it as “obscene” that the BBC had invested heavily in a studio “that will be on air for three half-hour bulletins a day”, while their rolling news channels faced considerable cuts.
The Times reported they were told the cost of the new studio was £10million.
Meanwhile, Private Eye reported it as £15million – but the BBC has yet to confirm the cost.
Presenter Huw Edwards stressed during a video tour that it will add impact to stories, while Jonathan Munro, interim head of news, said it was the “first major refurbishment” in a decade.
The new studio, known as Studio B, will be used to host election coverage, where previously the BBC created bespoke studios for that purpose, allowing the company to save in the long term on doing so.
The space at London’s New Broadcasting House will also play host to Laura Kuenssberg’s new Sunday morning politics programme later this year.
News executives are understood to have examined innovative international news models in their inspiration for the new studio.
They are said to have looked at Expressen TV, run by a Swedish newspaper that has won awards with its move into video news.
The 16 hour a day channel expects journalists to be live within three minutes of a story breaking.
The corporation now plans to merge the BBC News channel and BBC World News, as the license fee row continues to rage.
The merged station is speculated to become more international in tone, with its domestic version switching to local news at moments of national importance.
Explaining the merger last month, Jonathan Munro, the BBC’s interim director of news, said: “Rather than have two channels which have shared output, we’re going to reverse that and have one channel that has the ability to split apart.
“When there are stories that aren’t relevant overseas, but are very important for the UK audiences, we will do exactly that.”
There are fears up to half of the channels’ 200 staff workers could be made redundant in the merge, including presenters.
The BBC says its plans for a merger will save it £500million.
Ms Dorries announced earlier this year the BBC’s licence fee would be frozen for the next two years, before being scrapped entirely by 2027.
This leaves the company needing to save an additionally £285million.
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