The BBC has revealed that its popular BBC HD channel will be axed, as the UK public service broadcaster seeks to bring about a budget reduction in the region of 20 percent over the next five years. A new BBC2 HD simulcast channel will air instead in its place.
|BBC HD channel to be axed|
The proposal was outlined in a public consultation titled “Delivering Quality First” launched this week. Other proposed changes include cutting the budget for the BBC1 channel by 3 percent, which will see less entertainment TV programmes that have “a lower impact” (but more comedy and drama) being made. The BBC Two channel will feature fewer panel and chat shows, and will instead primarily broadcast news programming at lunchtime, while repeating mainly factual programmes otherwise.
The landscape of HDTV offerings from the Beeb is going to change somewhat as part of the organisation’s austerity drive. The BBC One HD channel will continue to operate as a simulcast of BBC One, therefore reflecting any shift in the mix of television programming seen on the latter. However, the BBC HD channel – the first free-to-air high-def television channel to launch in the United Kingdom – will be closed and replaced by BBC Two HD.
Given that at present some content on the BBC3 and BBC4 channels that are produced in high definition are broadcast on BBC HD, it is likely that viewers may experience a drop in the variety of HD TV programmes should these proposals go ahead. Alongside plans to cut its red button interactive services and as many as two thousand BBC jobs over the next five years, the corporation’s Diretor-General Mark Thompson said that this will allow savings of approximately £670m per annum by 2016/17, leading to a “smaller, radically reshaped BBC”.