BBC staff has been reduced 6% or by 1 200, the first significant drop in five years, according to chairman Richard Skarp writing in the company’s annual report for 2020-2021. “Our senior leader numbers are also down by over five per cent. We have also reduced spend on our top stars by 10 per cent.”
Still, 52 journalists are paid more than GBP 150 000 per year, the report shows. “Gender pay gap continues to decrease – and has almost halved in the last four years to a historic low of 5.2 per cent, with work continuing to bring it down even further in the future.” (According to previous reports by UK’s Press Gazette, BBC has spent more than GBP 1 million on legal fees fighting equal pay and race discrimination cases brought by staff).
48.6% of total staff are women and women in leading positions is 46.1%, with the target set for both categories to be 50%. Black, Asian and minority ethnic of all staff is 15.9% and in leading positions 12.6% with target for both categories to be 20%.
The market for news during the pandemic meant audiences for the BBC News At Six were the largest in almost two decades. BBC One’s 6.30pm bulletin in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions is the UK’s most watched news programme.
Time spent with the BBC went up to 18 hrs two minutes – from 17 hrs 45 minutes on average, per week. Over 28 million people watch BBC for evening entertainment on an average day.
BBC iPlayer attracted record audiences with 6.1 billion streams – up 28% on last year, and in January, there were a record 163 million streams in one week.
In recent weeks an 39 million people have watched the Euro 2020, and 20 million have watched Wimbledon on the BBC.
Referring to discussions and criticism in the UK about bias in the news, the chairman writes that “I believe the strategy the BBC has in place is the right one. While there is more work to do – particularly around impartiality, which the BBC has to get right – the BBC is on the right path.”
BBC Director General Tim Davie said: “The BBC is responding to global competition and pressure on our finances. But, we know we must do much more to ensure licence fee payers across the UK get best value from the BBC, to maintain their trust and provide a service they cannot do without. I am absolutely focussed on making the reforms we need to ensure the BBC is positioned to offer all audiences the best possible service well into the future.”