The future of the BBC News channel as a standalone entity can be guaranteed for the foreseeable future, director-general Tony Hall revealed today.
Asked if he could commit to the survival of the rolling news service, amid reports it might be merged with BBC World News or go online like BBC3, Hall delivered a firm one-word answer: “Yes.”
Currently, the BBC News channel, which costs £63m a year to run, is available to licence-fee payers in the UK, while BBC World News is commercially funded and available abroad.
Speaking at a press conference for the BBC’s annual review, Hall said BBC News would “stay” amid reports that director of news James Harding was investigating the possible changes as part of an ongoing review of the BBC’s provision of news.
Hall said: “James quite rightly threw up in the air a load of ideas about the future of BBC news. We all know the importance of going over to your TV to see what is unfolding.”
The BBC is still understood to be considering a greater use of live streaming, especially for mobile devices, as part of its revamp of BBC News.
The news department faces cuts of £80m over the next four years as the BBC as a whole looks to save £800m a year by 2021-22. News employs about 7,400 of the Corporation’s 18,000 workforce.