BBC ‘just burning money at this point’ as new £50m viewers’ research plan slated

BBC is 'burning money' says Defund the BBC campaigner

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Rebecca Ryan, campaign director of Defund the BBC, told TalkTV that the BBC were “wasting” money on a scheme that would allow them to “track what people like to watch”. She branded the strategy, which, paid for by the licence fee-paying public, will cost the BBC £50 million, as “outrageous”. Host Mike Graham then criticised the BBC’s “cutting back” strategies, claiming they just reshuffle employees to balance the books. 

Ms Ryan said: “They’re planning on spending £50 million of licence fee-payers money on tracking what people like to watch. 

“It’s not going to make a difference to anybody is it, because, you know, we had the Brexit poll, a clear output of what the public views were, yet the BBC campaigned hard for a second referendum for four years after that. 

“They’re literally just burning money at this point, which is pretty outrageous given the cost of living crisis.” 

Mr Graham replied: “Well it’s also pretty outrageous given what they say sort of once every two or three months, which is that they are cutting back. 

“Because my understanding of the BBC’s version of cutting back is that they let go of a few people from the staff list, thereby reducing their wage bill. 

“Then they hire them back as freelancers and put them on another wage bill, so they don’t actually lose their jobs, they just change their status.” 

Ms Ryan said: “Exactly, they’re just shifting around the deckchairs on the Titanic, reality. 

“But, you know, people in this country are undergoing massive cost pressure. Energy bills are set to go up to £3000 a year. And we have the BBC just latently wasting licence fee-payers money in this way.” 

Culture minister Nadine Dorries announced at the start of this year that the BBC licensing model would be scrapped by 2027. 

Over concerns that the impartiality of the BBC had been compromised and that fewer people watched the broadcaster, Ms Dorries brought an end to the current model. 

She said: “This licence fee announcement will be the last. The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors are over. 

“Time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content.”

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In the meantime, the annual fee of £159 for a TV licence has been frozen until 2024. 

The news came within a year of the BBC announcing an effective U-turn on their freebie offer of TV licences to over 75’s. 

The corporation said it could no longer afford to waive the costs from pensioners as the price of competing with streaming giants becomes overwhelming. 

But the move attracted a fierce backlash, with presenter Piers Morgan labelling the decision a “disgrace”. 

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